By MAGGIE M, Editor, the wedge.LIVE
This writer sat down with Co-Owners, Mama Duck, at The Crow’s Nest Bistro on Block House Island during Brockville’s, Rails and Trails Festival, Craig Samborski from Duluth, Minnesota, and Ryan Whaley, Sandusky, Ohio. It was a gorgeous late afternoon, the wind was swirling pleasantly and the St. Lawrence feet away cooled everyone. They concurred, “Brackville,” was beautiful. I chuckled at the American pronunciation.
I asked the existential question about the duck. “Why?”
Samborski’s event company spent years organizing and running events for Tall Ships. When their relationship ended, necessity became the mother of invention, literally. Mama Duck is the progeny of a casual meeting, where they asked themselves, “What else can we do?”
“A few beers were involved,” they chortled.
Nevertheless, idea went to execution. Now, it’s a thing and it’s not going away. Mama Duck has entered Ontario’s consciousness, celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday with six visits starting with Toronto and ending with Brockville. There is a plan to return, despite vitriol endured from politicos in T.O. and a surly individual in Europe attempting to derail Mama Duck’s travels. Success just seems to breed unbridled contempt these days.
“Mama Duck could be our mascot”
I realized as we sipped delicious, local beer and talked about Mama Duck‘s travels, she could be the wedge mascot. There is a parallel in our meaning and our intentions. The Wedge is about spreading happiness and inspiration–period, full stop. ‘Daddy Duck,’ as I like to call Samborski, agreed. Our goals are mutual. The business of happiness.
The rubber ducky is the universal bath toy without borders. I reflect how much Ernie of Sesame Street loved his ‘rubber ducky’. 25 million viewers watched the video below–no cats or porn required.
Mama Duck is 61 feet high, weighs 30,000 lbs (11 tons) and takes up to four hours to inflate her vinyl/rubber form onto six pontoons. Her baby, Lucky, is is always in tow.
She normally is set on water. In Brockville, she was placed on solid ground. I believe safety was at issue, wind, wakes with large vessel passage, etc…
Mama Duck arrived on the heels of Toronto tirades
Opposition politicos griped about the costs of bringing the duck to their town or city. Toronto journalists found a handful of critics who ignore the revenue Mama Duck brought to the city–over $4 million and counting. The cost : $71,000 for all six events, a pittance in light of the returns. If you divide the cost by six, it’s a windfall, a hefty profit in a few days–and a smart investment on the part of economic development and tourism. Reports of increased tourism to Brockville are remarkable too and the city shared their gratitude with Samborski and Whaley.
And no, Canada’s does not need to have a large beaver, moose or loon. Yawn! Look at what Ottawa is doing. It’s off the charts. Ontario is dense with creative, original thinkers. Big ideas are good for our economies.
Mama Duck has legs
Mama Duck draws large crowds to her side wherever she goes and puts smiles on their faces. I can’t find fault in generating smiles with a G rating.
I hope Mama Duck will become a unifying Ambassador worldwide. This lady has legs (even if they are tucked in out of sight). Samborski and Whaley need to have more beers and harness her potential.
I bring forward the rubber fish, Big Mouth Billy Bass, which sprung from his mounting plank and sang, “Don’t Worry. Be happy.”