Mama Duck To Return To Canada In June

By Ben Hamill - January 21 2020
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Mama Duck To Return To Canada In June

When organisers of Toronto’s annual Redpath Waterfront Festival announced 2 years ago that the star attraction set to make an appearance at Canada’s birthday celebrations was not only six storeys tall, weighed some 13,600 kilograms and yellow enough to rival the sun, but had also set taxpayers back a collective $120,000 for the privilege of watching the giant duck bob up and down on Toronto’s Harbourfront, “bird” turned out to be the wrong kind of word. Until word got out that the large yellow apparition fondly referred to as “Mama Duck” had in fact attracted the business of some 750,000 visitors to the city over the course of the 3-day festival that year.

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The good news is that Mama Duck will once again be winging her way on over to help Canadians celebrate the festival’s 10-year anniversary in June. And this time round, its all excitement and no flap. More good news is that Redpath’s event organisers have confirmed that the cost of bringing back the big yellow duck for the duration of the anniversary celebrations will this year be funded by the festival’s operational fund reserves, and not by Ontario’s taxpayers.

Murky Waters At The Start

Mama Duck’s redemption may have come full circle, but many people still remember the controversy that surrounded the giant bath toy look-alike when she first made her appearance in Canadian waters. The only difference between then and now is the fact that the story of how Mama Duck had been called out at the time as being a counterfeit (as opposed to being a non-counterfeit fake duck!) by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman is a story these days told in amusement instead of in an angry sort of muddle.

Mama Duck’s design was allegedly stolen from original artist Hofman by a cunning events organiser called Craig Samborski. Samborski had at the time of his having acquired the pattern to the duck from Hofman, proceeded to manufacture his own version of the bird as a result of his not having been entirely satisfied by the size of Hofman’s original design.

The acrimonious folly flared up between the two men once it became apparent that Samborski had gone ahead and trademarked his own redesigned pattern for Mama Duck. Hofman continues to stick to his story of Samborski having never paid him for the original duck’s plans, as well as the pattern lines on Samborski’s duck perfectly matching those designed by Hofman on the original plans.

Floating For The Greater Good

Whether the original concept behind Mama Duck rightfully belongs to Hofman or to Samborski or in fact, to either of the two men, remains up in the air. Unlike Mama Duck of course, the larger-than-life golden bird set to have her big golden belly planted in Canadian waters real soon. And for a perfectly honourable cause too!

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