By Tom Degun

Toronto 2015 mascot judgesMarch 17 - Toronto 2015 have received 4,130 submissions for their mascot with an expert panel of judges set to narrow them down to just six for a public vote.

The entries came in the Toronto 2015 Mascot Creation Challenge which was launched in January and closed earlier this month.

The competition saw 15,000 people from across Canada participate to win the chance to design the mascot for the Pan and Parapan American Games, with all designs submitted in teams that ranged in size from two to six people.

"We're overwhelmed by the response and we're really excited about what happens next," said Toronto 2015 chief executive Ian Troop.

"Over the next few weeks we'll be pouring over the submissions to try and whittle them down to the top six.

"It's not going to be an easy task because everyone has their favourites.

"It's going to be close."

The average age of participants was 11-years-old while most mascot design teams had three members with one group leader.

The winning mascot will follow Huichi, Gavo, and Leo, who became the symbols of the last Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011. 

They represented a blue agave plant, a deer and a lion.

Huichi Gavo and Leo were the mascots for the last Pan American Games in Guardaajara 2011Huichi Gavo and Leo were the mascots for the Pan American Games in Guadalajara 2011

Around 70 per cent of the entries arrived at Toronto 2015 headquarters by post or were dropped off in person compared with 30 per cent of submissions made online.

Toronto 2015 has received entries from all of the host municipalities of the Games as well as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Altona and Châteauguay.

The entries include animals, oddities and fantasy creatures such as a rabbit in running shorts, a lion with an amethyst mane, a dancing flame and friendly water drop and a lightning bolt with rainbow hair.

According to the official rules and regulations of the competition, each submission will be judged by the expert panel on its originality, kid appeal, how well it represents the Games region and Canada and whether it embodies the spirit and values of Toronto 2015.

After the top six are chosen by the panel, the teams behind the mascot designs will work with an artist to professionally illustrate their creations.

On April 22, everyone in Canada will have the chance to pick their favourite mascot when the contenders are unveiled and the mascot public voting system goes live on the Toronto 2015 website.

People will be eligible to vote once a day until the contest closes on May 5, 2013.

The winning mascot unveiled this summer when it will then visit communities and schools throughout Ontario and Canada and appear on signage and merchandise, including collectible pins and toys.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2013: Competition to design Toronto 2015 mascot gets underway
December 2012: Toronto 2015 call on children to submit design for Games mascot