Introducing Waskasoo

October 3, 2017

Meet the 2019 Canada Winter Games Mascot

Today marks 500 days until the 2019 Canada Winter Games in our city, a key event in the development of young athletes across the country.

Tonight our city came together in the cold for a community event and mascot party. We indulged in free BBQ, played games, bounced in the bouncy castles and high-fived all of the community mascots (who knew Red Deer had so many!). The highlight of the night was the unveiling of the new 2019 Winter Games mascot.

The story of how this new mascot came to life is actually really cool. Kids between the ages of 5-12 across Alberta were enlisted to help find the right mascot. Choosing between four animals commonly found across Central Alberta, a moose, a snowshoe hare, an owl and a deer, they were to submit a drawing, a name, and the mascot’s story. Over 300 youngsters submit their entries. Yesterday, 12-year-old Mackenzie Van Damme from Lacombe found she had the winning entry and her mascot idea had become a reality. Just think about how cool it would be to have a picture you’ve drawn become the face of something so big. I get tears just thinking about it, but I’m kind of a softie like that.

Mackenzie designed a little deer named Waskasoo, a young deer that grew up just outside of Red Deer, but now calls the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary home. Waskasoo’s antlers form a ‘W’ and he has 13 spots representing the 13 provinces and territories across Canada. Deer usually lose their spots as they get older, but Waskasoo’s have remained as a gift from Mother Nature for his kindness towards others. Waskasoo is enthusiastic, encouraging and curious. His name comes from the Cree name “Waskasoo Seepee” which means “Elk River”, the original name for the river running through the community. The settlers had mistaken elk for the European red deer in the area, and the river was then changed to the Red Deer River.

And so little Waskasoo came to life.

It was basically love at first glimpse.

Liam was pretty excited to be one of the first to get to meet Waskasoo, although he was a bit timid compared to the other mascots we’d interacted with earlier in the evening. I’m sure I’ll be hearing about how he wants to go back to give Waskasoo a hug and a high five for a while now. Luckily, Waskasoo will be sharing the magic of the Winter Games over the next few months at various community events. And yes, he could be available for your event and can be booked at

We’ll definitely be checking out the next Canada Games event when we celebrate one year out! Hopefully, Liam will get his fill of Waskasoo hugs there.



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