The beaver, the loon, Céline Dion... all Canadian icons, all too expensive to commission as a six-storey inflatable landmark. And so, Canada will be celebrating its 150th birthday with a giant rubber duck.
It's not just any rubber duck. Rubber Duck was created by Florentijn Hofman, a Dutch artist known for enormous, playful outdoor installations (including the HippopoThames, which swam around in London in 2014). Various versions of the bird--which is visible from space--have turned up across Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States, but this will be its first visit to Canada. The world's largest rubber duck will float along the Ontario Waterfront as part of the Ontario 150 tour and the Redpath Waterfront Festival, which cannily encourages visitors to remember their selfie sticks.
So how does this very Instagrammable work speak to Canadian culture? In short, it doesn't. It fails to reference anything that is iconic to this nation of multiculturalism and maple syrup, and it wasn't even created by a Canadian. (Imagine, instead of a bright yellow duck lurking along the water, a hovering cloud of lightbulbs illuminating the evening, courtesy of Canadian artists Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett.)
The duck is family-friendly, eager to please, non-threatening, generally inoffensive... in essence, it's a yellow PVC-clad embodiment of the laziest Canuck stereotype. One can only hope it won't block the view of the compelling nine-metre inukshuk that already graces the shoreline.