This summer, Canada will celebrate its 150th birthday with events across the country. But one whimsical addition to the celebrations might find itself sailing into some choppy waters when it arrives in Ontario next month.

Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka City, Osaka, Japan. By Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.
A version of the large rubber duck - shown here in Osaka - will be in Canada this year.

The "world’s largest rubber duck" is set to visit Toronto’s HTO Park on Canada Day – 1 July – as part of the RedPath WaterFest. The six-storey rubber duck is hoped to draw in tons of people who want to snap a selfie, but also has brought the ire of some government officials and a Dutch artist.

A large rubber duck that has been showing up around the world for about ten years is the work of artist Florentijn Hofman. Hofman's studio said in a statement that the duck heading for Canada is actually a counterfeit version of his famous piece. According to a CBC report, the owners of the other duck disagree, arguing the design is in the public domain.


The other piece of the controversy comes from the fact that the Ontario government is paying $120,000 CAD through a grant to bring the duck to the province, where it will travel to six cities. Some politicians in the province say that’s far too much money for a giant floating duck, while others defend its role in a public celebration, reports the BBC.


The issue has led to many social media commenters discussing the issue using the hashtag #whattheduck.

Rubber Duck by Florentijn Hofman (Dutch artist, 'Father of Rubber Duck') in Hong Kong.
Florentijn Hofman's rubber duck shown here in Hong Kong.

Regardless of duck-related controversies, Canada will be expecting a lot of visitors excited to see all the country has to offer in its 150th year. The country has made all of its national parks free for 2017 – and was chosen as the top country in the world to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet.

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