About 90 per cent of the duck’s cost is being covered by grants, including a CA$121,325 payout from the Ontario government earmarked for funding the celebrations.
However, not everyone is excited about the prospect of a gigantic rubber ducky docking in Toronto.
“I cannot imagine what the rubber duck’s connection is to the 150th,” said Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli. “They’re laying off frontline health-care workers right across Ontario ... They can’t find money for alternative level of care beds, but they can find $200,000 for some kind of a duck promo?”
The rest of the $200,000 bill is being footed by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the Ontario 150 celebration committee itself. Thousands of dollars will go towards paying for a crane and inflation equipment to set up the duck.
“I believe that people who are struggling to pay their hydro bill, who are concerned about this government’s fiscal policy, will think that spending $200,000 on an expense like that is quack economics,” said PC Deputy Leader Steve Clark.
The project aims to generate CA$20 in visitor spending for each dollar spent on the campaign, according to Jeff Costen, press secretary for the office of the minister.
“It’s an absurd waste of taxpayers’ dollars,” argued PC MPP Rick Nicholls. “It is an absolute cluster duck.”
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” countered Tourism Minister Eleanor McMahon.
The duck in question is an American-owned replica of the original world’s largest rubber duck which has been sailing around the globe since 2007. It’s due to begin its Ontario trip with a stop on Toronto’s waterfront late next month before embarking on a tour of various points around the province.