Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Giant rubber duck for Canada 150 a waste of taxpayer money: Ontario PCs

The giant rubber duck planned to tour around Ontario communities is based on an art piece by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, seen here floating in an enclosed branch of the Yongding river in Beijing, China, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

Ng Han Guan/AP

An Ontario government grant of about $120,000 that is going toward a giant rubber duck for Canada 150 celebrations is ruffling some feathers.

The six-storey-tall, 13,600-kilogram yellow duck is being brought to Toronto by the Redpath Waterfront Festival, at a total cost of $200,000, combining other funding such as corporate sponsorship.

It's being billed as a tourist attraction — with particular Instagram and selfie appeal — and will also be taken to other communities in Ontario.

Story continues below advertisement

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives say they're unclear on the giant duck's connection to Canada's heritage celebrations.

"It's an absurd waste of taxpayers' dollars," Rick Nicholls said in question period. "It is an absolute cluster duck."

Video: A giant duck is coming to Toronto for Canada 150, and it's ruffling some feathers

Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister Eleanor McMahon said the province has been funding the waterfront festival for the past three years and it does a good job promoting tourism.

"This year they've decided to add a duck to the equation," she said. "I think it's an important contribution to our 150th celebrations. It's just another example of the fun that people are going to have this summer."

Lea Parrell, the co-producer of the waterfront festival, said it's hoped the duck will have a positive effect on tourism.

The $200,000 cost includes renting the duck from a man in the United States who owns it, transporting it, inflating it, using a crane to lift it onto a barge, towing the barge, bringing it to other Ontario communities, marketing, and on-site support such as portable toilets and extra fencing so people don't fall in the water, Parrell said.

The giant rubber duck is based on similar floating structures by a Dutch artist that have travelled world, Parrell said.

Story continues below advertisement

A spokeswoman for the Department of Canadian Heritage said the Redpath Waterfront Festival received $250,000 from the Canada 150 Fund for its Ontario 150 Tour, which will visit six Ontario ports between July 1 and Aug. 13.

The tour also features a dance and musical performance, a lumberjack show and local live entertainment at each port.

"The festival received $92,500 in 2016-17 and $157,500 in 2017-18," Natalie Huneault said Monday in an email.

Report an error Licensing Options
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Globe Newsletters

Get a summary of news of the day

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.