Talk about priorities. Earlier this week it was announced that Ontario is footing the bill to bring a six story tall inflatable rubber duck to the Toronto waterfront, which cost $71,000, as a part of the Redpath Waterfront Festival celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“People are already treading water, trying to pay their bills, and you float this rubber ducky right in their faces?”
But now, the Dutch studio that created the rubber behemoth says that the duck purchased as a part of the Canada 150 is actually a counterfeit of the original public art installment, created in the Netherlands.
“In 2014, Studio Florentijn Hofman retained Mr. Craig Samborski to assist in the production of our art installation in Los Angeles,” said Kim Enbers, a spokesperson for Studio Florentijn Hofman, in a news release.
“The duck was never supposed to be used for profit. It was designed to be a public art installation to bring joy and hope wherever it went,” said Kim Enbers in the press release.
“By renting the duck at exorbitant rates against the wishes of its creator, Mr. Samborski not only is stealing the joy from the public, he is also stealing from the legitimate artist and creator of the exhibit.”
In an interview with Motherboard, Samborski said he paid for the duck plans from Hofman, but they weren’t detailed enough, so he designed his own. He maintains the duck in Toronto is not the same as Hofman’s.
July 1 of this year marks 150 years since confederation. Celebrations have been planned across the country to commend this occasion, but it hasn’t been met without opposition.
“We’re going to have fun this summer, and this is exactly the kind of investment we need to be making as a government.”
Indigenous communities across the country have taken a stand with trending hashtags like #colonization150 and #resist150. The acquisition of the six story yellow rubber duck, has only added to the criticism and left taxpayers wondering why they’re paying for the giant that has nothing to do with Canadian culture.
The Ontario Progressive Conservative party took aim at the Liberal government for spending taxpayer money on the installment that doesn’t seem relevant to Canada’s anniversary.
“People are already treading water, trying to pay their bills, and you float this rubber ducky right in their faces?” Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex said during questions period.
Tourism Minister Eleanor McMahon defended the duck as a good investment for the province.
“We’re going to have fun this summer, and this is exactly the kind of investment we need to be making as a government,” McMahon told reporters Monday.
A giant rubber beaver or perhaps a loon, if the government wanted to keep it to the aves family, would have made more sense.
“Had the Canadian government official tried to contact us, we would have provided the real duck,” Studio Florentijn Hofman said.