As reported in the BBC News one of those elements most of us associate with childhood has made its debut in Toronto harbour-a really big rubber ducky.
At over 15 meters (49 feet 3 inches high) this rubber duck was “designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and has travelled the world, from Brazil to Taiwan.” Somehow the duck was seen as the perfect thing to float in Toronto’s waterfront as part of the 150th birthday celebration for Canada. Yes, there is no real connection between a large duck which has travelled the world and Canada’s 150th. But the duck did attract a lot of visitors during its debut at the Redpath Waterfront Festival on July 1st, and it will then be travelling across the province “on tour”.
Estimates from 2015 suggest this duck cost $20,000 to float at each venue. And indeed when the Rubber Dick was floating in Belgium it was stabbed 42 times, meaning that a security guard detail had to follow the duck as it floated in the Belgian nights.
While Altas Obscura says that “the duck’s biggest sin may be its own ubiquity, ” the real issue is whether this is art-or just a way to bring attention and commerce to the waterfront. During its three-day Canada Day weekend float in Toronto, the Waterfront Festival smashed attendance records and generated commerce for local businesses from Starbucks to water taxis. There were crowds of people wanting to take selfies with the duck, or to take a boat out to the duck.
For Toronto the Rubber Duck was an economic booster-but is it art?