Feathers are ruffled across the country today in the wake of news that a giant rubber ducky, that costs $200,000, is being brought to Ontario by the Toronto Redpath Waterfront Festival as a part of the Canada 150 celebrations. Specifically, political opponents of the sitting federal government have taken issue with the grant that Ottawa approved to help cover the cost of the temporary/transportable tourist attraction. Before you decide where you sit on the issue though, let’s look at a few of the other specifics…
1. $200,000 is the total cost of the attraction (which will visit 6 different ports during its stay in celebration of Canada 150)
2. The government grant is $120,000 … the remaining $80,000 is being covered by corporate sponsorships
3. The price tag includes: the rental fee for the duck from it’s US owner, its transportation, inflation, the use of a crane to lift it onto a barge, towing of the barge, the tour costs to bring it to other Ontario communities, marketing, and on-site support such as portable toilets and extra fencing to protect on-lookers from falling into the water while distracted.
If you just say ‘your tax dollars are buying a giant Rubber Duck for $200,000’ it sounds ridiculous… but put it in context and is it really all that different from other giant tourist attractions like the giant Goose in Wawa, the Big Nickel in Sudbury or the Big Apple along the 401?