See the Giant Rubber Duck that Waddled into Toronto to Celebrate Canada 150

by | Jul 5, 2017 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

Would you make a special trip to see a giant rubber duck in your neighbourhood?


I did! Twice! Norman went to see the duck. Ben and his family went to see the duck. We all loved the duck.


We made special outings to the Canada 150 Waterfront Festival, just to see the duck.


Thank you to the Redpath Waterfront Festival organizers for bringing The Duck to Toronto!


You can follow the ports of call for the duck here: Ontario 150 Tour

The Duck is 6 stories high and weighs 13 tons

There was a lot of controversy over The Duck. People complained that a duck is not Canadian. People complained about the price tag: $120,000 for July and August.

Giant rubber duck makes a splash in Toronto


The duck has landed.


But not everybody is happy about the six-storey tall rubber duck, weighing over 13 tonnes, that arrived in the harbour Friday morning to kick off a weekend of Canada Day celebrations and the Redpath Waterfront Festival.


The duck, which is said to be the world’s largest and which cost the province $120,000 to rent from July until August, has been the subject of controversy since its participation in the festivities was announced this spring.


Many have taken issue with the expensive price tag.


Christine Van Geyn, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said that spending so much money on a tourist attraction was useless because people would come to the harbourfront anyway.


Steph Braun, a passerby who came to see the duck, said she really enjoyed it.


“I like it, I think its fun and it makes people happy.”

Here is my message to Christine Van Geyn, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation:
I went to Harbourfront just to see the duck. I spent lots of money while I was there.

I pay taxes. I get great benefits from the taxes I pay, in particular, health care. Most of my taxes are redistributed to those who are less fortunate. I trust the federal and provincial governments to make wise choices about how my tax dollars are redistributed. But now and then, I like to see my tax dollars used for something fun. A giant rubber duck is fun.

A little nonsense now and then
Is relished by the wisest men.

(This quote is usually attributed to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Here is a site that traces the origins of the quote.)

Even The Wall Street Journal, the most serious of newspapers, had fun with The Duck:

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada! What’s With the Giant, Inflatable Duck?


The waterfowl, which will kick off the anniversary this weekend, has sparked a backlash for not being Canadian enough


Canada wanted a loon for its birthday. Instead, it is getting a duck. A bright yellow duck that is six stories high and inflatable.

The Duck makes people happy

The Duck doesn’t do anything. She is completely low tech, old fashioned fun.

The Duck cannot swim.

The Duck cannot fly.

The Duck cannot waddle.

The Duck cannot quack.

The Duck can make people happy. The people in this photo look happy.

Happiness is important. The study of happiness is a serious subject.

The United Nations World Happiness Day is March 20th.


John Helliwell is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of British Columbia. He is the co-editor of the World Happiness Report. This year, Norway came out on top as the happiest country. Canada ranks 7th. (If there were a happiness index for those seeing The Duck, we would be on top.)

I met Professor Helliwell at a Law and Economics lecture at the Faculty of Law at the University Toronto.

How Can Happiness Research Help to Build Better Lives?
Happiness and Public Policy
John Helliwell
University of British Columbia

Economics, the dismal science, is not usually associated with happiness. Law and Economics at the University of Toronto is not usually associated with happiness.  Professor Helliwell changed that. What a fun lecture he gave!

His research includes ground-breaking studies into the effect of happiness on social and economic well-being. The widespread interest in the World Happiness Reports reflects growing global interest in using happiness and subjective well-being as primary indicators of the quality of human development. Many governments, communities and organizations are using happiness data to enable policies that support better lives.

Our lives are better when we are happy.

This is one of Norman’s photos of The Duck

I went to Harbourfront on Canada Day to see The Duck. It was fun to see all the crowds but it was too crowded to get good photos. Norman knew that I was disappointed with my photos so he got up very early the next morning and biked down to Harbourfront. He used all the dedicated bike lanes that Toronto has built. He spent four hours biking along the waterfront trails, taking photos of The Duck for me. That made me happy.

Usually, Norman is not the type of person who would make a special trip to see a giant rubber duck. He liked The Duck and he liked his early morning bike trip.


Those who were out early in the morning had the best chance to get good photos with The Duck

The Duck and Mini-Me Duck

I liked Norman’s photos so much that I made a second trip to Harbourfront. I went in the morning of her final day in Toronto.

I raided the grandchildren’s sandbox and borrowed their duck for this photo.

How many ducks in this photo?

Answer: Four ducks. Each child is holding a duck, while posing in front of a Mini-Me duck, with The Duck in the background

Lots of kids brought their Mini-Me ducks as props.

This little girl wanted a photo with her favourite stuffie

Even the firefighters joined in the fun with this wonderful water show

I spy with my little eye … something big and yellow

Is it bigger than a ship? Yes.

I took a water taxi to get this photo

The water taxi business has been cratered this summer by the high water levels. Their normal business is taxiing people to and from the Toronto Islands. The Islands are closed because of the high water levels. In early May, Lake Ontario was three feet above its normal level. It has fallen a couple of inches since then. The Islands are closed until the end of July. Hopefully the water levels will have receded by then. You can see photos of the flooding in an earlier blog. The water levels are higher now than when I took those photos.

The water taxis had three days of steady business, taking people out on the water for photos of The Duck with the Toronto skyline. The cost was $10 a person. I thought this was a real bargain.

Even from a distance, you can see The Duck in the Toronto skyline

The water taxi took us for a tour of the Toronto Islands

Can you spot The Duck?

If you are interested in more photos of the Toronto Islands, you can return to a blog that I did last fall.

This is a photo that Norman took. It is hard to moor a giant duck in a marina.

This is Norman’s photo of the Toronto skyline taken from the west end of the city

I think this is a beautiful photo.


I hope that this blog has made you feel happy!

Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

World Heritage Traveller at
I love visiting World Heritage Sites, celebrating the world’s most fascinating places and cultures, and most of all, having fun on a trip. Join me on the road to fun and fascinating places. Thanks for reading – and remember to add your e-mail below for updates!
Rose Ann MacGillivray