Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

The Magazine Of Queen's University

Search form

Yoo hoo, Boo Hoo!

Yoo hoo, Boo Hoo!

(Photo by Lars Hagberg)

From football games to awards dinners, Queen’s celebrations wouldn’t be the same without the Queen’s Bands. And the Queen’s Bands wouldn’t be the same without Boo Hoo.

While the Queen’s mascot was once a real bear (from the 1920s to the 1950s), the university went without an official mascot until 1980, when the Gaels booster club made the gift of the tartan-clad bear costume to the Queen’s Bands. Since 1980, there have been tall and short Boo Hoos, male and female Boo Hoos. There have been some modifications to the bear suit over the years: some smaller Boo Hoos have required some extra padding – and at least one used a hula-hoop – to fill out the costume to appropriate ursine plumpness.

There have been a lot of great moments, but one real standout is from last Homecoming. As we were just about to march into Richardson Stadium, an alumnus ran up to me and excitedly told me that he was the first Boo Hoo, back in 1980.

To me, that was really cool, because it made me think about how few of us belong to this unknown little group that has been so vital to Queen’s spirit over the years. Most people don’t stay in the role for more than a year, so there is a lot of turnover, but even so, that means that there have only ever been 34 Boo Hoos at most.

Taylor MacPherson, Artsci’15, Ed’17, is the current Boo Hoo and operations manager for the Queen’s Bands.

Queen’s Bands represent and share the spirit of Queen’s. Bandsies join from across all graduating years and disciplines, making it a true reflection of the student body.

I had a lot of fun being Boo Hoo that year, whether it was at a home or away game, at the parades, festivals, dinners and the like. There was nothing like walking into the John Orr Awards dinner and seeing the excitement from alumni who were truly glad to see you.

Teri Cota, BFA’97, was Boo Hoo in 1994–1995. She lives in Montreal, where she works in the not-for-profit sector with Alzheimer Groupe Inc. (AGI).

I have countless memories of amazing interactions with students and alumni – and alumni babies! Never have I been handed so many strangers’ babies!

But for me, the best part of being Boo Hoo was the family that came with him. Queen’s Bands is an extraordinary group of people, and whether we were marching in a parade, headed somewhere on a bus, or cheering on the Gaels, there was such a strong sense of love and support.

Lauren Saunders, Artsci’11, Ed’12, was Boo Hoo from 2010 to 2012. She splits her time between teaching and acting. ”I also teach physical theatre and clowning to teens,” she writes, ”which often brings up stories of my time as Boo Hoo."

We’re still identifying alumni who donned the costume over the years: if you’d like to share your Boo Hoo memories, please email review@queensu.ca.

[cover graphic of Queen's Alumni Review, issue 4-2016]