US & Canada

Canada 150: Giant duck's cost prompts Ontario row

The giant duck in San Pedro, California. Image copyright FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The giant duck in San Pedro, California.

A giant rubber duck is coming to Canada, but not everyone thinks the idea is so spec-quackular.

The 15m (49ft 3in) high ducky was designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and has travelled the world, from Brazil to Taiwan.

The duck will float in Toronto's waterfront as part of a festival celebrating Canada's 150th birthday.

But the bill for the duck has some politicians squawking.

The 13.6-ton toy will make its grand debut at Redpath Waterfront Festival on 1 July, before travelling across the province as part of the Ontario 150 tour.

But whimsy doesn't come cheap, and the Ontario government has chipped in C$121,000 ($90,000; £70,000) towards the Redpath Waterfront Festival, the government confirmed.

It is unclear how much the duck itself cost, or what portion of government funding is going towards the duck.

Ontario's Progressive Conservative leaders slammed the duck as a waste of taxpayers' dollars during question period on Monday, opining that government funding for the inflatable sculpture was "an absolute cluster duck" and "quack economics".

Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel has also demanded to know what federal funding, if any, has gone towards the giant duck.

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Media captionOrganisers say the festival will turn the harbour into a "giant bathtub"

Not everyone is a duck-hater. Ontario's Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon said the duck was "fun and sort of quirky".

The duck was designed by Mr Hofman in 2007 and is billed as the largest duck in the world.

"We are living on a planet, we are one family, and the global waters are our bathtub, so it joins people," he said.

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