By Glen Herbert
RLC didn't have a named identity or a mascot 1995–1996. That year Jim Cox, Business Manager and hockey coach, put forward the Timberwolf. The animal is common to the Great Lakes region, alternately known as the Algonquin wolf or the eastern wolf. "Timberwolves" was the name of a local WWII flight squadron. The animal is also highly intelligent, with strong family bonds, able to adapt to a wide range of habitat. All good things.
The connections to human populations are compelling as well. Wolves respond to human howls, and for decades Algonquin park has hosted wolf howls throughout the summer months. Ojibwe language speakers know the wolf as ma’iingan. It is considered a mentor from a time when humans and animals openly talked to each other, with wolves teaching Indigenous people how to conduct themselves in social groups and while hunting. "A wolf was the one that led Nanabush around the world," says Kory Snache, "guiding him when the world was covered in darkness. Everywhere they tread they brought colour and light to the world. The wolf protected Nanabush and taught him how to live."
The look of the RLC timber wolf has changed over the years. The earliest iteration looked like the one that is painted on the wall of the Dungeon. Recently, though, it was suggested that the Timberwolf get a facelift. Maybe something a bit less aggressive would be nice, and also more reflective of those character traits of care and quiet wisdom. The designer used the form of the circle to reference the medicine wheel. The blue of the frame references one of the primary school colours; the gold was chosen to represent the warmth of the sun and the vibrant moon. The fangs aren't showing, as they were in past iterations; in this instance, the wolf is howling quietly, proudly. The shape of the fur was crafted to reference the character of Anishnaabe art. We think it looks pretty great.