BY
Jason Simmonds

Wowkwis, mascot for 2023 Canada Winter Games in P.E.I., makes first appearance for Gulf Shore Consolidated students

BY
Jason Simmonds

Wowkwis, mascot for 2023 Canada Winter Games in P.E.I., makes first appearance for Gulf Shore Consolidated students

NORTH RUSTICO, P.E.I. — Myla Doucette felt a feeling of accomplishment as the 2023 Canada Winter Games official mascot made its first appearance.

Nine-year-old Myla won a provincewide design competition last spring, which attracted over 1,200 entries from 45 schools. Myla and her Grade 4 classmates at Gulf Shore Consolidated School were the first to meet the mascot on Nov. 4.

“I was so excited,” Myla told the SaltWire Network in an interview. “It looks really cute and is super fluffy. It has to be fluffy.”

The mascot’s name is Wowkwis (Whoa-quis).

“Named after the Mi’kmaq First Nations peoples’ word for red fox, Wowkwis celebrates the rich history of our province,” reads a media release from the 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society.

Turquoise is the favourite colour of Wowkwis because it resembles water in the bay, and ringette is the mascot’s favourite sport.

“I decided to do a fox because there is this fox that keeps on going by our house every night,” said Myla, who lives in Anglo Rustico. “Whenever I started drawing it, I decided I was going to make Mi’kmaq because I was thinking of that at the time.

“Of course, I made it winterly because the Canada Games is in the winter, and it’s playing ringette because I love ringette, and I play ringette.”

Wowkwis, the official mascot for the 2023 Canada Winter Games on P.E.I., poses with Myla Doucette and her Grade 4 classmates at Gulf Shore Consolidated School in North Rustico. Myla won a Nine-year-old Myla won a province-wide mascot design competition last spring. - Jason Simmonds

The mascot design included quillwork that highlights the local art and culture of the Abegweit Mi’kmaq First Nations people. Mi’kmaw artist Noella Moore designed the quillwork that Wowkwis wears as a medal.

“It's made out of porcupine quills, and what I did is put a star in there and filled it with different colours and put little tiny stars around it,” said Moore, who says she is honoured and grateful to have been part of this process. “I learned the quill quite a few years ago, and the star represents a lot for the Mi’kmaq. We use that quite often in our work.”

A Summerside resident, Moore shared some insight with Myla.

"My message to her was she is an artist, and I hope she continues with her art.”

Myla said it’s neat to know that her mascot design will now be part of history, and she had a feeling of accomplishment when Wowkwis walked through the curtains onto the stage.

This quillwork was designed by Mi'kmaw artist Noella Moore and will be worn as a medal by the mascot of the 2023 Canada Winter Games. The mascot, Wowkwis, was unveiled at Gulf Shore Consolidated School in North Rustico on Nov. 4. - Jason Simmonds
A significant point in time

Brian McFeely, co-chair of the host society for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, said the mascot unveiling is one of the milestones on the journey to the event, which will run from Feb. 18 to March 5.

“The mascot is a tremendous marketing tool for the Games, and it was a super exercise with the kids here at Gulf Shore School,” said McFeely. “It was a great launch, and we look forward to many, many appearances by the mascot.”

A lot of thought and work went into designing Wowkwis.

“It represents what we are all about," said McFeely. "It highlights the Island, the ocean, the sea, the recognition of our presence in the Mi’kmaq territory and a symbol of what the Games are all about."

There are currently around 175 volunteers signed up, and McFeely said planning is moving along well.

McFeely said as the year-out date approaches in February, things will kick into high gear.

“We are moving into the next phase of planning and digging down a little deeper. We are on time, on schedule, on budget, and things are moving along really well.”

Jennifer Redmond, manager of community relations for the 2023 Canada Winter Games, makes a presentation to Myla Doucette. Myla won a provincewide design competition for the event’s mascot, and Redmond presented her a framed drawing of the mascot, a recognition certificate and her submission. The mascot, Wowkwis, was introduced for the first time to Myla and her Grade 4 classmates at Gulf Shore Consolidated School on Nov. 4. - Jason Simmonds
At a glance

Some highlights of the 2023 Canada Winter Games:

  • The dates are Feb. 18 to March 5
  • The event will bring together 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches
  • The competition will take place in 20 different sports
  • It will be the largest multi-sport event in the country
  • The forecasted economic impact is over $100 million
  • The 2023 event will be the 29th edition of the Canada Games
  • It will be the biggest event hosted in Prince Edward Island’s history

Jason Simmonds is a sports editor with the SaltWire Network in Prince Edward Island.

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