After 20 years, a costume change and countless boys bringing it to life, Upper Canada College mascot Cookie is calling it quits.
Cookie first came to UCC as a gift from the leaving class of 1996, but memories seem vague as to how or why it was chosen. Alec St. Louis, the co-president of the class with Brandon Alexandroff, thinks the original costume came from a store on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill. But that’s about all he can recall.
“We let the school do what they wanted with it,” says St. Louis. “I guess they ended up calling it Cookie.”
“While I wasn’t involved in the Cookie Monster decision back in 1996, I don’t think our class has any emotional attachment to it,” says Alexandroff. “That said, it’s probably appropriate to create some sort of shrine for the Cookie Monster costume when it’s retired — maybe hang up the entire costume in the assembly hall or something.”
Prep athletic director Nigel White, one of the leaders of the campaign to find a new mascot, was a UCC teacher in 1996. He also comes up blank with regards to its origin and says he wasn’t aware of a mascot before Cookie.
What is known is that by 2007 the original Cookie costume had definitely seen better days and Parents’ Organization president Carmen Ford took it upon herself to replace it with funds from the PO.
“As much as the kids wanted to have the mascot out and have Cookie around, it got to the point where no-one wanted to climb into the suit,” she says.
“The case for Cookie wasn’t hard to make. The parents were all pretty supportive of that one and thought it was time to get a new suit.”
Ford had a connection at Sugar’s Mascot Costumes and its designers came up with a very similar outfit, but this time with a fan in the head to keep the wearer cooler. While concerns today that Cookie infringes on licensing rights for the trademarked Sesame Street television show Cookie Monster, that didn’t seem to be the case back then since it wasn’t used in any school marketing and there was no money being made off the mascot.
Maintenance of the costume was left to students and it was supposed to receive a thorough cleaning every year. That responsibility was eventually transferred to the Blues Booster Club since teenage boys aren’t always the best at taking good care of things. Even the most careful guardians can’t turn back time however, and the time has come for Cookie to move from the sidelines and make way for a successor.
“Cookie will retire on A-Day, his costume seeing better days,” says Lisa Assaf, who’s co-chairing the BBC this school year with Carita Sheehy. “Throughout the years many UCC boys have had the privilege of being Cookie, sometimes as many as 10 a year.
“While he will be missed, the new mascot chosen by the UCC community will be a unique representation of what it means to be a part of UCC, and we are confident the new mascot will fill Cookie’s shoes, ushering in a new and revitalized era of UCC spirit.”
A search is beginning for Cookie’s replacement and UCC community members are being asked to submit their ideas through this mascot nomination form. The top three nominees will be chosen by a small committee and announced at Association Day, and a vote will then be held to decide the winner. It’s hoped that the new mascot will be unveiled at Winterfest in January.
“We’ve decided it’s time to usher in a new era of UCC spirit-mongering,” says Assaf. “In short, we are looking for a mascot that UCC community members can truly call their own.”