You hate the Vanoc mascots now… but after meeting the Vancouver creator Vicky Wong – I think you will learn to love them!

Quatchi, Miga and
are names of the new Vanoc mascots for the 2010 Olympic Games.

Vicki Wong is the designer of the mascots, and of the Octonauts – her first children's book that was published last year.  I met Vicky last year at the 2006 Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable which annually hosts an event that allows BC authors and illustrators to introduce their new books.

I fell in love with Vicki's book The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster. and promptly bought it, and had a great time chatting with her.

Vicki's partner in Meomi Designs is Michael Murphy.  Hmm… a Chinese and an Irish name getting together to create something very Canadian…. sounds very Gung Haggis to me!

When I saw the Vanoc mascots revealed on Monday, the characters looked strangely familiar to me, despite their Japanese anime flavour. After reading that it was Vicki and her company Meomi that won the competition to design the mascots – it all made sense to me.

the octonauts and the Only Lonely Monster

the Octonauts and the Only Lonely Monster

Vanoc's website says this about Vicki:

“When we met Meomi Design’s Vicki Wong, and
saw the portfolios of her and her partner, Michael Murphy, I think
we all felt they were born for this project,” said
VANOC Brand & Creative Services director Ali Gardiner.
“Not only is her work warm, endearing and imaginative,
but she’s a very proud Vancouverite and Canadian, and
was excited to share our culture and environment with the world
through these Vancouver 2010 mascots. Vicki also understood
immediately how the mascots could communicate Olympic and
Paralympic ideals and values to children, and get them engaged in
our Games.”

Wong has captured the secret element that makes these creatures stand out from previous Olympic mascots, as well as the special element that makes them endearingly “very BC.”  Researching and drawing on First Nations cultures, Wong made these mascots “shape-shifters,” or tranformation figures.  She discovered a story about how killer whales would transform into spirit-bears to come onto land.  As well the Thunderbird is a mythical figure that is featured in transformation masks.  Who else but somebody knowledgeable about BC First Nations culture and the cultural fusion aspects of Vancouver would be able to present this unique flavour for the Vanoc mascots?  And did you hear?  Vicki Wong is a “born in Vancouver” Canadian!

“Each of the creatures is distinct and special – both in
personality and in appearance. One is big, gentle and shy . . . one
is small, mischievous and outgoing . . . and one is a natural-born
leader with a passion for protecting the environment. All three are
mythical creatures with roots in local legend. “

Check out these other weblinks about the Vanoc mascots.

2010 Olympic mascots unveiled

The mascots are the creation of Vancouver graphic designers Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy, who own Meomi Design. Vanoc says that although the two provided

Say hello to Sumi, Quatchi and Miga | – Canada – Features

He reminds us, in the words of VANOC, “of the mystery and wonder that exist Sumi, the mascot for the Paralympic Games, is a “spirit animal” that wears

Aboriginal Canada First Nation Nations – Google News

2010 Olympic mascots unveiled, Canada –  Vanoc says First Nations – tales of orca whales that transform into bears when they .

Vancouver turns to native legends for mascots | Sports | Reuters

“We didn't really look at other (Olympic) mascots. We just wanted something that would represent Canadians,” said Vicki Wong, one of the designers.

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