An oversized rubber duckie is ruffling a lot of feathers in Toronto ATM. The Ontario government is spending around $200K (including $120,000 from a government grant) to pay to have a giant inflatable rubber duck trucked—or should we say floated?—into T.O.’s Harbourfront for a few days as part of the city’s Canada 150 celebrations, and people are crying fowl. The 30,000-pound duck, which is in fact a piece of travelling art by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman meant to highlight the world’s “global bathtubs,” is coming for a quick soak as part of Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival from July 1-3. You read that right, all that cash and we only get to rent it?
— Norm Kelly (@norm) May 29, 2017
Sacré bleu!, I thought when reading the WTD (What The Duck) headlines. Did I unknowingly move back to Montreal? This kind of liberal public spending reminds me a lot of my hometown in La Belle Province where the government has a reputation for shelling out serious cash to commemorate special occasions. Montreal’s 375-year anniversary this year was celebrated with a casual bridge light show that cost a reported $39.5-million and some artful granite tree stumps that set the city back around $3.45-million. And lest we forget the everlasting legacy of Montreal’s 1976 Olympic stadium, a costly decision whose nickname evolved from “the Big O” to “the Big Owe” because of its endless structural problems and pricey repairs, that cost the taxpayers $1.61-billion by the time it was paid off in 2006. Although I cherish the celebratory Quebecois spirit, that kind of spending is ducking crazy. Je me souviens, Quebec.
But while I want to be wholly outraged at this expensive cluster duck, I can’t help but be utterly tickled by my new home’s forthcoming visitor and his insanely cute face. I mean, just look at it. That sly little baby duck smile! His little eyes! Come on! He’s so delightful and sweet. That’s def the face of an innocent duck who doesn’t know how much his visits cost, though, amiright?
Ontario spending $120,000 to bring the giant Rubber Duck to Toronto.
— Josh Pringle (@PringleJosh) May 30, 2017
Let’s be serious, what the giant rubber duckie lacks in authenticity—after all, our faux fine-feathered friend doesn’t look like it’s made of anything resembling rubber but rather the same swishy material as those inflatable dudes that sway outside of car dealerships—it more than makes up for in duck/bird/feather puns potential. And if we can’t stop the enormous Insta-bait from paddling into Toronto’s harbour, we might as well enjoy the wordplay, yes?
Tourism Minister Eleanor McMahon recognized the pun-tential:”We’re not ducking any of these questions,” she said during question period earlier this week. (Tip of the hat, McMahon).
In perhaps the most advanced use of puns by a government official, Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls opposed the province’s decision with this multi-layered gem: “People are already treading water, trying to pay their bills, and you float this rubber ducky right in their faces?”
And finally, this:
Toronto’s 120k rubber duck has my parents upset over the quack who approved it
— Jaslyn Marshall (@ThatBirdJay) May 30, 2017
Who knows, maybe after people see the oversized cutie IRL and snap a selfie with him, it’ll all be water off a (rubber) duck’s back.