By: Esther Klein
Ontario has dished out $200K to the annual Redpath Waterfront Festival, $121k of that being invested into bringing in the world’s largest rubber duckie.
You might want to be shore to catch the six-storey, 18.6 metre, 13,600 kilogram yellow duck on Toronto’s waterfront for Canada’s 150 running July 1–July 3.
The duck is expected to bring tourists and locals running with selfie sticks in hand to capture images during the annual Canada Day festival.
Jeff Costen, a media contact with Ontario’s Minister of Tourism media contact, told Humber News that the duck is a great addition this summer.
“As Ontario celebrates our 150th anniversary, we have an incredible opportunity to create lasting legacies by supporting a wide range of exciting festivals and events. That’s why we’re supporting the Redpath Waterfront Festival through $121,325 in Celebrate Ontario funding,” said Costen.
Costen also included a breakdown of the high cost of bringing in the giant duck.
“It includes renting the duck from a man in the United States, transporting it, inflating it, using a crane to life it onto a barge, towing the barge, bringing it to Ontario communities, marketing, and on-site support, such as portable toilets and extra fencing so people don’t fall into the water,” said Costen.
Eleanor McMahon, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, said in a statement to Humber News that the funding is going to the festival that has run for three years, and not just to the duck specifically.
“Data show that every one dollar of Celebrate Ontario funding triggers almost $20 of visitor expenditures. We’ve actually been funding that festival for the past three years and we’re funding them again,” McMahon said in the statement.
The festival “create jobs, they do a fantastic job, and they bring in tourists,” she said.
The festival provides on-land and on-water programming for people of all ages.
Ontario Progressive Conservative Rick Nicholls told CBC this was wasteful spending seeing as it has zero connection to the history of Canada.
“People are already treading water, trying to pay their bills, and you float this rubber ducky right in their faces?” Nicholls said.
People on social media had mixed reaction.
“Hate to rain on everyone’s parade,” said Tuvy Elion-Jourard, Toronto resident, “but this is probably one of the less intelligent moves on Ontario’s part. Not only does this duck have literally no relevance to Canada and it’s history, it’s a waste of money, and that is my tax money going towards that duck.”
— Dominik Dutrisac (@kinimodd93) May 30, 2017
The giant duckie’s selling point is that it will be the perfect picture backdrop and is set to travel the province to bring tourists to smaller communities.
McMahon told the oppositions to stop “quacking” and understand that the duck is just a fun part of the larger celebration.