A colleague of mine who recently moved to Canada from France asked me the other day why the mascot of the Pan Am games is a porcupine. We were out at lunch buying a Pachi doll for his young daughter and he was somewhat confused by a porcupine being a Canadian symbol. He has seen an abundance of racoons out and about, and is aware of moose, beavers, bears, and deer. But porcupine – that was a new Canadian concept for him.
So, trusty Google to the rescue and I can confidently report that porcupines are common to North America and this particular porcupine has quite a back story. Designed by a team of Grade 8 students, Pachi is quite symbolic and comes with a coming of age story, quills representing participating countries, and colours that reflect his values. Porcupines are also visually impaired, which made him a perfect candidate to land this mascot role. To read more about Pachi, check out his official profile.
For more information on this prickly species in real life, visit this link.
Now you know!