TORONTO — A pair of panda cubs born in a Toronto zoo have been named in honour of the country of their birth.
In a ceremony packed with dignitaries, the zoo announced the male cub is named Jia Panpan (JUH PAN’-pan), meaning Canadian Hope, while the female cub is named Jia Yueyue (JUH YOU’-you), meaning Canadian Joy.
— The Toronto Zoo (@TheTorontoZoo) March 7, 2016
The event also marked the cubs’ first public appearance since their birth last fall.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne were among those getting the first glimpse of the cubs, who have been held in a special maternity area since their birth last October.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 7, 2016
Both posed for photos with the cubs — an opportunity Trudeau joked his children would envy.
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) March 7, 2016
The prime minister called the cubs a symbol of Canada’s strengthening relationship with China, noting he had received a message of congratulations from his Chinese counterpart.
The cubs marked their 100th day in January and are now considered to have survived their infancy.
Their mother, Er Shun, is on loan from China. She and a male panda named Da Mao arrived in 2013.
A special committee was set up to compile possible monikers, which were then put to a public vote.
The cubs are set to be introduced to the general public this weekend.