NORTH RUSTICO, P.E.I. — A mother was brought to tears as she watched her daughter’s shocked reaction in finding out her drawing was selected as the winner in the 2023 Canada Winter Games mascot design contest.
Terra Doucette of Anglo Rustico was told three weeks ago that a drawing penned by her nine-year-old daughter, Myla, had been chosen out of 1,200 entries from across P.E.I.
However, it’s a secret Terra kept for three weeks until Tuesday, June 14.
The Canada Winter Games team made the announcement of the winning drawing in front of Myla’s Grade 3 class at Gulf Shore Consolidated School.
“She was really proud of it and she worked really hard on it, so I am over the moon for her,’’ Terra Doucette told The Guardian as she wiped away tears. “This is such an amazing experience.’’
Jenn Redmond, who sat on the judging panel, said Myla's design stood out because it prominently featured a red fox, P.E.I.’s provincial animal. She said judges also liked that she tied the fox in with her favourite sport, ringette, which is one of the many sports at the Winter Games.
In addition, Redmond said Myla showcased the local art and culture of the Abegweit Mi’kmaq First Nation people.
“I really, really like foxes because they’re really cool and pretty,’’ Myla said when The Guardian asked her about where her inspiration came from. “I also love drawing, so whenever I saw this (contest) I really, really wanted to enter. I definitely did not know I was going to win out of all of those (entries).’’
Myla’s mother said she is trying to wrap her mind around the fact that her daughter’s mascot design will live on for years.
Winning the contest could also influence Myla's future.
“She’s been saying since she was three she wants to be an artist when she grows up. I just think of the fuel this is going to give her and the inspiration to her creativity is amazing.’’
Marilyn Doucette, Myla’s grandmother, said the youngster is drawing all the time.
“I have her before school and after school, and after school she is often drawing pictures,’’ said Marilyn. “I’ve been amazed by her drawings for a few years now.’’
Brian McFeely, co-chairman of the 2023 Canada Winter Games host society, said the response from across the province to the mascot design contest was astounding.
“It is absolutely tremendous when you compare it with past Games where we received in the 300 to 400 bracket,’’ McFeely said, comparing it to the 1,200 entries received this time. “Hats off to our communications team that got the word out there and hats off to the schools across the province who really embraced the concept.’’
McFeely said Myla’s design will go to a professional designer, who will help turn it into an actual mascot. Myla’s design will also be turned into merchandise, such as gloves, pins and T-shirts.
The official mascot will be unveiled in October when the host society marks 500 days to the beginning of the Games.
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