Toronto celebrated Canada’s 150th. birthday in fine form this past weekend. Every park and every landmark drew millions out to celebrate, not to mention the thousands of backyard and deck parties. People went to any of a few hundred places to gather, listen to music, dance eat, drink and watch enough fireworks to last for three days. One of the most interesting and certainly most controversial being the appearance of the world’s largest rubber duck in Toronto Harbour. Designed by Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman, versions of this duck have appeared around the world since 2007. This particular one was enlarged and put together by Ryan Whaley, an Ohio Public Relations specialist. It is rumoured, but not confirmed by the artist, that the inspiration for this work comes from a 1992 incident in which a Chinese cargo ship lost some 350 containers in a storm. Some of these contained bath toys which are said to have been floating around the world for decades. The artist’s intent with this piece is to make people’s lives happier and promote unity and healing. Of all the events going on this one surely created the most discussion.
Many decried the expense of bringing this thing here. Many questioned it’s lack of Canadian content. We are, after all, more famous for beavers, moose, polar bears and large pesky geese. All of the political jockeying aside, it sure did draw a crowd! Harbourfront was packed, shoulder to shoulder, with tons of people clamouring to get a peek and more importantly, a selfie, with the big rubber duck. I have always believed that art should create a thought, a discussion, a reason to stop for a moment, if for no other reason but to take that extra look. It was an awesome experience being out with so many Torontonians and visitors to celebrate Canada’s 150th. Most visitors seemed to like the duck but even if you didn’t, you can always stick around for some of that smelly tofu! Thanks to the millions for a great party!