By Tom Degun

Toronto 2015 mascots 2May 7 - More than 33,000 Canadians have voted in the nationwide online contest to select the mascot for the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games, although the winning design will not be announced until July 17 this summer.

Following over 4,130 entries in the Toronto 2015 Mascot Creation Challenge, the six finalists were announced last month.

The six finalists are a moose in running shoes, a maple leaf-headed beaver, a punk porcupine, a rainbow-hued owl, a rascally raccoon and twins wearing funky hats.

The Canadian public have been voting on the six finalists and after voting closed on Sunday (May 5), a total of 33,018 votes were cast.

"Once again, congratulations and thank you to the young mascot design teams for all their hard work, as well as all the Canadians who took the time to get to know our top six finalists and cast a vote," said Toronto 2015 chief executive Ian Troop.

"Over the next few weeks, our internal mascot team will be hard at work putting the finishing touches on the winning mascot before making its debut this summer."

Toronto 2015 mascotsMore than 33,000 Canadians voted in the nationwide online contest to select the mascot for the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games

Following the close of the voting, the names of the design teams have been revealed.

The moose has been designed by best friends Phoebe Zhou, 13, and Carrie Chen, 14, from JB Tyrrell Senior Public School in Toronto.

The beaver has been entered by siblings Kirollos Kilada, 15, Mira Kilada, 11, and their cousin Marco Adly, 13, from Mississauga.

The porcupine has been submitted by students Fiona Hong, 13, Michelle Ing, 13, Paige Kunihiro, 14, and Jenny Lee, 13, from Buttonville Public School in Markham.

The owl has been designed by Cindy Wang, 12, Marco Yang, 12, Eric Li, 12, Tommy Truong, 12, and Michelle Dong, 13, from JB Tyrrell Senior Public School in Toronto;

The raccoon has been submitted by Irene Gallido, 11, and Mariyalini Suresheaj, 12, from St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Toronto.

Finally, the twins have been created by Sabrina Tang and Victoria Lee, both aged 15, from Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute in Toronto.

The six finalists were chosen by a panel of expert judges based on their originality, kid appeal, how well it represented Toronto and Canada and whether it embodied the spirit and values of the Games.

To ensure fairness when Canadians voted, a professional artist illustrated the top six designs using the same colour palette and style across the board while maintaining the integrity of each original design.

Following the July 17 unveiling, the mascot will spend the next two years visiting communities and schools, and appear on signage and merchandise, including collectible pins and plush toys.

All participants in the Mascot Creation Challenge have received a special certificate from Toronto 2015 to recognise their contribution to the Games, while the team with the winning design and its group leader will get a personal mascot visit after the big reveal this summer.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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