UVic’s unofficial mascot: George the campus peacock
When I first arrived at UVic in the fall of 2021, I was introduced to the official mascot; a large cartoonish Viking named Thunder. He is often seen attending sporting events or campus kick off at the start of each school year, and he is a joy to interact with.
While the mascot is well-loved and appreciated by many, a rival representative has made an appearance on campus and threatens to steal the Viking’s thunder! (Pun very much intended.)
In the spring of 2022 a lone peacock decided that he wanted a change of scenery. He made his way from his home in Beacon Hill park located in Downtown Victoria to the UVic campus, where he has stayed since.
After his arrival no one has attempted to relocate him, and I firmly believe that if anyone tried they would be met with fierce resistance from both the peacock and UVic students who have grown rather fond of him. During his time here he has made it abundantly clear that this is where he wants to be, and in turn the students of UVic have accepted him as one of their peers.
In April 2022, a first year Biomedical Engineering student noticed the peacock and remarked that seeing the peacock was “the highlight of their day”. The student decided to send a photo to their family, who encouraged them to create an Instagram page dedicated to the majestic bird.
After creating the account, the student named the peacock George and began to post pictures of his appearances around campus. Other students began to send in video and photo submissions of George, and soon an online community of peacock lovers was formed.
The creator of the account never expected it to gain popularity, but within the span of several months George’s Instagram received a following of over 1000 people, and that number continues to grow as he wins over more fans with his flamboyant charm.
George’s popularity has since expanded beyond the online world. As a result of the account’s creation many people around campus have began to refer to the peacock as George when they encounter him.
Newcomers who are exploring the UVic campus will often remark how wonderful it is that the University has its very own peacock, but truthfully George is no one’s peacock but his own, and we are just lucky he chose the University of Victoria as his home.
Some of George’s favourite activities include loitering outside the campus Starbucks and waiting for someone to let him in (or to bring him a cake-pop), posing for photo-ops on the quad with his admirers, and trying to not get kicked out of lecture halls and libraries.
(But in all seriousness please do not feed George cake-pops or any other food that might be harmful to birds. A healthy peacock is a happy peacock, and a happy peacock makes a happy campus!)
Despite his widespread popularity, there are individuals who question why there is a peacock who freely roams about the campus.
In response to their concerns I have a few things to say:
1. Is a bird not equally deserving of a higher education as any other student at UVic? Does he not deserve access to the academic resources available so that he can gain knowledge and make a career for himself?
2. Yes, he may not be paying tuition like the rest of us, and yes, he may not have an income (or any concept of what money is), but that does not mean he should be removed from campus!
If you still believe that he has not earned his place on this campus than perhaps you should reflect inwards on your personal morals and ask yourself why you are against equal access to education for all.
I can strongly contest that George’s arrival on campus has improved the daily lives of many, including my own. Walking to class every day is no longer a chore, instead it has transformed into a fun activity because I never know when or where I might encounter a peacock! I know that many students share my same appreciation for this marvellous bird and they too have observed similar improvements in their day-to-day lives.
If you want to see more of George make sure to check out his Instagram page @campuspeacock. Or if you want to get more involved and share your peacock love with other passionate individuals you can check out @uvicpeacockclub on Instagram and request to join the Discord server.
All photos credited to @campuspeacock who gave their permission to be featured in this article.