We hardly knew ye.
We need to figure out what is going on in this photo, if only to get closure for PACHI’s departure.
The Pan Am porcupine mascot PACHI (all caps being the officially Pan Am-accepted form of his name) bade farewell to Toronto – nay, the
world Western Hemisphere – from his Instagram account on Tuesday. But with his detailed backstory and carefully managed persona, the people need to know: what happens next to PACHI?
Does the photo above imply a hopeful return to the wilderness for the Niagara-born porcupine? Can he re-adapt after the heights of his Toronto fame saw seven versions of him waving to spectators at Pan Am events, and plushies selling for over $40 at Pan Am gift shops? Or-and we did not ask the Pan Am communications team about this-has the very successful PACHI been put out to stud? If it worked for Northern Dancer, so why not the world’s favourite focus-grouped anthropomorphic porcupine? If the two-year-old PACHI does not have this in his future, does this mean he has gone the darker Old Yeller route? Could the Pan Am Games be so cold and cruel?
Sadly, the traces of the PACHI Era are quickly fading. The price of plushies has now been cut in half. The creepy inflatable PACHI installation that rested above the streetcar shelter at Bay and Queen has been reduced to smouldering ashes, as it has been replaced with an ad for the ROM’s new Pompeii exhibit. The PACHI mascot costumes that once suited overheated young staffers are destined for permanent exhibitions at the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Markham Hall of Fame, and while PACHI gear isn’t quite at the Value Village stage yet, that could be around the corner. The public has moved on from PACHI, and he in turn is pursuing his sunset.
We don’t quite know what’s next in store for PACHI, but we wish him well in Mascot Heaven. There, he will presumably join the likes of Domer, Blinky, and Millenni, and crack non-verbal jokes as only felt-headed mascots can. In the future, we will look back and say, “Oh yeah, Pachi. That was a thing for, like, four weeks.” And it was. And then we moved on.
Farewell, PACHI. We’ll miss you too.