03/01/2015 01:35 EST | Updated 05/01/2015 05:59 EDT

Canada Winter Games medals symbolize lasting impact on athletes and locals

The Canada Winter Games wrap up today, and as triumphant athletes head home with their medals, Lheidli T'enneh artist Jennifer Annais Pighin reflects on their symbolism.

Pighin's design was selected from 39 submissions from across Canada that were received over the summer of 2014.

"The concept came from the theme of 'leave your tracks,' one of the catch phrases of the Canada Games in Prince George," she told North By Northwest's Sheryl MacKay.

"I was thinking of the imprint that the games are going to have on Prince George … and our culture will have on the athletes and coaches and everyone that visits, so I wanted to reflect that in the design I created."

The wolf paw print

"The reason I chose the wolf print was because of the concept of the wolf operating as a pack and sort of as a team, and I saw that each athlete and each volunteer, even, has their team that supports them and gets them to where they're at," Pighin said.  

The dugout canoe

Pighin says the dugout canoe symbolizes the long journey people take to reach their goals. It also pays tribute to the Lheidli T'enneh and Dakelh First Nations, on whose traditional territories the games take place.

"The entire regional First Nations are Dakelh, and that means the people who travel by boat, so I want to pay tribute to that, as well as to the journeys that everyone takes (that brings us) all together in this place where the two rivers come together for Lheidli T'enneh," Pighin said.

The mountains

"The landscape is just as important. It's important for all Canadians, for sport, for recreation, entertainment," Pighin said. "So we've got the Canada Winter Games sort of branding of mountains, trees around the edge of the design."

To hear the full interview with Jennifer Annais Pighin, click on the audio labelled: The symbolism behind the 2015 Canada Winter Games medals.