Festival profits soared on back of giant duck
Star attraction on waterfront last July was economic boon for the city, report concludes
The giant rubber duck brought in the big bucks.
Feathers were ruffled at Queen’s Park over a $120,000 government grant that helped land the world’s largest rubber duck for a summer waterfront festival, but a report released Thursday said the attraction brought in record crowds and profits. The study by Enigma Research found the Redpath Waterfront Festival held in Toronto over the July long weekend, which featured the duck, had a $7.6-million “economic impact” and attracted 750,000 visitors, a third of them from out of town.
Opposition MPP-shad criticized the government for handing out funding to the festival when the duck has no connection to Ontario or Canada’s 150th anniversary. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation also organized a protest to oppose the spending, saying “this giant rubber duck isn’t all it’s quacked up to be.”
The 13,600-kilogram rubber duck, almost 19 metres tall, also made appearances at summer festivals across the province, including Midland, Owen Sound and Sault Ste. Marie.
Tourism Minister Eleanor McMahon said she was pleased to see crowds “flocked” to the festival, helping to create jobs and ended up “leaving a strong economic impact.”
She had previously defended the grant, saying communities like to “find something really fun and sort of quirky” to attract visitors.
The big yellow bird helped attract 750,000 visitors to the Redpath Waterfront Festival, many from out of town.