The Mascot and Team Name Committee reviewed ideas and input from the first phase of community engagement, which ran from May 19 - 30, 2022. As shared in the June 16, 2022 community update, the committee used the community input to establish a set of parameters by which hundreds of ideas were considered. The committee removed ideas from consideration if they were not legally ownable, not sufficiently unique in the sector or city, or if they raised concerns regarding alignment with the university’s values and aspirations.
The committee then shortlisted team names and mascot ideas and invited all community members to provide input during the second phase of community engagement from July 12 - 19, 2022.
Following the second phase of consultation as well as careful review and research carried out by the committee, including cultural and legal checks, a recommendation was submitted to the President for a decision.
On August 29, 2022, TMU announced a new team name, TMU Bold, and a new falcon mascot.
The falcon mascot costume is currently in production and community members are invited to google formsubmit mascot name ideas, external link from March 22 to March 31, 2023.
Drawing from the community's input, the committee established a set of parameters that thoughtfully considered the university’s values and aspirations. This set of parameters allowed each idea to be assessed in a more consistent and intentional way.
Some of the parameters were more subjective, such as:
- Does this idea make sense for the university?
- Is it appealing?
Others were more objective, such as:
- Does this name make sense for community members of all genders?
- Does it align with our recent renaming?
- Is the name legally ownable?
These parameters led to the decision that "Rams" was not to be considered moving forward. The values that we so closely associated with our athletics programs are not the same values evoked by a ram - they are values of our community, our athletes and our supporters. Reconsidering our mascot and team name provided us the opportunity to find a name that better aligns with who we have become and who we wish to be.
Context and timing
On August 26, 2021 the university’s Board of Governors accepted the 22 recommendations put forward by the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force to guide commemoration at the university and to address the legacy of Egerton Ryerson. One of the recommendations was to reconsider “Eggy” the mascot.
Egerton the Ram, more familiarly known as Eggy, acted as the university mascot since 1961. In addition to his name being a form of commemoration of Egerton Ryerson, our understanding is that the ram (a male sheep) was chosen to represent the university because it was Egerton Ryerson’s zodiac sign.
The TMU Bold team name launched in Fall 2022 and the falcon mascot will be introduced across campus in Fall 2023.
In August of 2021, the Board of Governors accepted all 22 recommendations from the Standing Strong Task Force including a recommendation to reconsider “Eggy” the mascot. Egerton the Ram, more familiarly known as Eggy, has acted as the university mascot since 1961. In addition to his name acting as a form of commemoration, our understanding is that the ram (a male sheep) was chosen to represent the university because it was Egerton Ryerson’s zodiac sign.
With the recent renaming of the university, a new mascot and team name provides an opportunity to unify the community by further aligning with the institutional values and aspirations.
The President appointed Jennifer Simpson, Provost and Vice President, Academic and Jennifer Grass, Associate Vice President, University Relations as the executive leadership of the project. To guide the process, the executive leadership established a committee of leaders and staff from areas of the university that interact with the mascot in terms of marketing and communications, programming and events, and culture.
The committee developed the overall process, which included community consultation, reviewed community input and brought forward a final recommendation. The committee managed the process with technical and administrative support from the Associate Director, Next Chapter.
The goals of the process were to:
- Maximize stakeholder participation and feedback from students, alumni, employees and other community members.
- Develop an understanding of the needs and desires of the community regarding the mascot and team name.
- Identify a team name and mascot that supports the athletic program and aligns with the new name/brand, university values and institutional aspirations.
- May 2022: The Team Name and Mascot Committee was appointed.
- May 20 - 30, 2022: Phase One of the project’s community engagement invited all community members to share ideas and considerations.
- June - July 12, 2022: The committee considered hundreds of ideas against the parameters and sought legal advice around trademarks to identify shortlists of team names and mascots.
- July 12, 2022 - July 19, 2022: The committee shared the shortlists and launched Phase Two of community engagement to gather feedback on the shortlisted ideas.
- July 20, 2022 - August 2022: The committee reviewed the feedback and identified a mascot and team name to recommend to the university president.
- August 29, 2022: The new mascot and team name, effective immediately, were announced to the community.
Drawing from community input during Phase One of community engagement, the committee established parameters for the assessment of team name and mascot ideas.
The parameters aimed to identify options that were:
- unifying for the TMU community;
- representative of positive qualities, ideals, or associations that align with TMU;
- broadly relevant across the community, student body, and among generations of alumni;
- representative of the TMU and/or Toronto experience and/or history, either generally or specifically;
- appropriate for all sports teams - regardless of gender or sport; and
- legally ownable and/or unique in the city/sector.
On June 16, 2022 the committee announced that they would no longer consider retaining “the Rams,” noting that it did not align with the established parameters.
The community engagement periods invited all community members, regardless of affiliation to the university to participate by way of the survey or through email to the committee.
While the current team name and mascot are directly related, this is not a requirement moving forward. Across the sector there is no standard practice that must be followed. While the Toronto Blue Jays have a blue jay (Ace) as a mascot, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a bear (Carlton).
That being said, the falcon is as bold as birds come! They are one of the fastest creatures on earth but it isn't just about their speed – it's also about their timing and critical decision-making.
Beyond this defining personality trait, the most obvious connection between the Bold and the falcon is etymological: the root of the former connotes a "swell," such as one sees in the prominent chest and beak of the falcon. There are few better graphic representations of boldness than the silhouette of this urban sentinel.
In Phase One, community responses were as diverse as the community itself, however, many responses shared a desire for a team name and mascot that are unique and bold.
During Phase Two, the responses to the shortlists helped the committee better understand the wide range of opinions, word associations, and desires of the community. It was evident that the community desired a mascot that:
- has local significance;
- can exhibit a level of sophistication;
- has a connection with the team name; and
- can be seen as strong and/or competitive without being scary
The committee found that there are more limitations on options than most people would realize.
In addition to not having a team name/mascot that conflicts with other teams in the USPORTs league, external link, it has been advised by legal counsel that TMU should not pursue a mascot or team name that is too similar to any of the professional and semi-professional or well-established teams/leagues within Toronto. For example: Toronto Titans exist as a swim league club as well as a hockey league.
The committee removed ideas from consideration if they were not legally ownable, not sufficiently unique in the sector or city, or if they raised concerns regarding alignment with the university’s values and aspirations because of popular connotation or etymology. For example:
- Raccoons were recommended however, UofT Scarborough has a raccoon mascot.
- Mavericks were recommended however, the etymology of the word and popular connotation is predominantly colonial.
While the shortlist represented some of the strongest available options, the committee recognized that new ideas may come forward, or older ideas at later stages could be reconsidered. Phase Two of the community engagement showed very little support for the shortlisted mascots but reinforced the community’s desire for a creature with local significance and strength. The falcon, along with other birds of prey, had been consistently raised throughout the process and aligned well with the parameters.
Students and alumni were encouraged to participate in both rounds of community engagement by completing the survey, emailing and sharing their thoughts on social media and including the hashtag #TorontoMetMascot.