Toronto

World's biggest rubber duck generates big economic impact for Toronto

The Redpath Waterfront Festival has announced that the world's largest yellow duck that spent some time in that giant bathtub known as Lake Ontario this summer helped generate more than $7 million for the local economy.

Redpath Waterfront Festival reports economic impact of more than $7 million

The world's biggest rubber duck generated big economic impact in Toronto.

Rubber Duckie — you're the one, indeed.

The Redpath Waterfront Festival has announced that the world's largest yellow duck that spent some time in that giant bathtub known as Lake Ontario this summer helped generate more than $7 million for the local economy.

The festival, which also included the West Coast Lumberjack Show, the Waterfront Artisan Market and other programming, attracted a record 750,000 visitors over the Canada Day weekend.

With hundreds of thousands of people visiting the six-storey, 13,000-kilogram rubber duck — to take selfies even in the rain — local businesses reported long lines and big sales.

The nearby Swiss Chalet reported line-ups out front from open until close, with many customers saying they made the trip downtown just to see the duck, according to manager Wais Noorzada.

And Tiki Taxi reported that its water taxi business tripled and it had its entire fleet on the water for the full three-day weekend.

In a news release issued Thursday, festival organizers said:

  • the total economic impact of the festival is estimated to be $7.6 million. Non-local attendees and event operations resulted in about $10.6 million in new spending.
  • local residents spent $16.5 million related to the event, including $4.8 million at local restaurants.
  • an estimated $3.6 million in tax revenue was generated by event-related spending.
  • 31 per cent of attendees lived more than 40 km from the festival site, and a record number of visitors from the United States attended.

While the duck was a hit in Toronto, it did float into town under some controversy over the public funding put toward bringing it and sending it on a tour of six Ontario cities as part of Canada and Ontario 150 celebrations.

The province gave the festival a $121,000 grant, which led opposition MPPs to question the spending while residents were struggling with expenses such as soaring hydro bills.

The Liberal government responded by noting the festival's anticipated economic benefits.