Fes­ti­val prof­its soared on back of giant duck

Star at­trac­tion on water­front last July was eco­nomic boon for the city, re­port con­cludes

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - KRISTIN RUSHOWY QUEEN’S PARK BU­REAU

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.

STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

The big yel­low bird helped at­tract 750,000 vis­i­tors to the Red­path Water­front Fes­ti­val, many from out of town.

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