When thinking back on 1986 in Vancouver, Expo Ernie is the mascot that comes to mind for most people, but the official mascot of our city, introduced at the same time, has mostly been forgotten.
Tillicum the sea otter was a product of the Vancouver Centennial Commission, which was formed in order to organize the city's 100th birthday celebrations that took place in 1986, and which Expo 86 was a large part of.
According to the Museum of Vancouver, the design for the mascot was unveiled by the commission's co-chairman Michael G. Francis on April 6th, 1984.
It's not known if Tillicum is male or female, but going through the more than 1,700 photos of Tillicum available on the City of Vancouver Archives' website, one thing is certain; they were everywhere in 1986.
Cutting ribbons, holding babies, hugging children, hanging out at the PNE and at the side of then-mayor Mike Harcourt (a lot), this costumed otter made the rounds.
And though they spent a lot of time in council chamber at city hall, a representative from the City of Vancouver tells us they can't find any record of Tillicum being discussed in any city council meeting minutes.
The costume was constructed mostly of fake fur, cardboard, metal wire, foam, mesh, and plastic, and is currently held in the basement of the Museum of Vancouver, deep in the collection.
Click through the photo gallery above to see Tillicum's travels, 35 years ago in Vancouver.