Montréal 1976 – Mascot Amik

Designer: Guy St-Arnaud, Yvon Laroche and Pierre-Yves Pelletier, under the leadership of Georges Huel

“No animal has played a greater role in the development of a country than the beaver in Canada”, said COJO President Roger Rousseau at a press conference in Toronto on 25 September 1974, when he announced the beaver as the official mascot of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Several reasons led to this choice. Rousseau said that the beaver is directly linked to Canadian history and folklore and also appears on the coats of arms of the cities of Montreal and Kingston. In addition, this rodent has long been represented on Canadian stamps and coins. Only the trade with beaver fur had lured large European companies to North America and thus ultimately also led the ancestors of today’s Canadians here, and according to Rousseau, a fact known to all residents of Canada. Amik, the mascot of the Games, was the joint work of Guy St-Arnaud, Yvon Laroche and Pierre-Yves Pelletier. Under the direction of Georges Huel, head of graphics and design, they spent a year researching and working on this project. According to Rousseau, the mascot was not intended to be “a comic or cartoon concept of the beaver”, but preserve the dignity and spirit of the animal. Rousseau was convinced that “this had been achieved with the design we had chosen”. The mascot wears a red sash with the emblem of the Games, which is intended as a reminiscence of the ribbons to which Olympic medals are attached. In order to find a name for the mascot, the Organising Committee held a competition throughout Canada. The winning suggestion was Amik, the word for beaver in the Algonquin language, the most common idiom among Canada’s indigenous people. In addition to the above-mentioned symbolic value that beavers generally enjoy in Canada, the beaver as the mascot for the 1976 Olympic Summer Games also due to the fact that the relatively small rodent patiently works hard, reflecting the economic diligence of Canadians.