People were wondering why a giant Coca-Cola bear was part of the Winter Olympics opening night ceremonies. This wonderful icon was meant to represent the Spirit Bear, otherwise known as the Kermode bear. Spirit Bears are local treasures, and live only in the temperate rainforests of British Columbia. Spirit Bears are a subspecies of Black Bears and are not Polar Bears. Because of their ghost-like appearance, Spirit Bears hold a prominent place in the mythology of the Canadian First Nations. It is the belief of the First Nations that the white bear was put on the planet by the creator to remind us of the age when much of the land was covered by glaciers.
This wonderful painting is called "Salmon Watch - Spirit Bear" by Canadian artist Robert Bateman. I have never been fortunate enough to see a Spirit Bear. A few years ago I was visiting friends in northern British Columbia, and my hosts asked me if I would like to see a Spirit Bear. "Sure...!" So we went to the one place where folks are certain to see lots of bears -- the city dump. Unfortunately all we saw were dozens of regular Black Bears, scrounging around for their evening meal, and the Spirit Bear eluded us.
Spirit Bears are protected in British Columbia, and one of the Olympic mascots, Miga, is part Spirit Bear, part Killer Whale -- an interesting combination, to say the least. So, that's why the giant