Canada Day waterfront festival overwhelmed by trash, organizers say
Amara McLaughlin, CTV News Toronto
Published Sunday, July 2, 2017 8:06PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 2, 2017 10:51PM EDT
While thousands have flocked to the Redpath Waterfront Festival over Canada Day weekend to catch a glimpse of attractions like the giant rubber duck making a splash at Toronto’s harbourfront, many visitors and locals say trash has overshadowed the festival’s success.
“It’s very unusual for Toronto,” one tourist said in an interview with CTV News Toronto. “I’m used to it being very clean and I’m thinking this is horrible.”
The summer’s annual Redpath Waterfront Festival running from Saturday until Monday includes an artisan market and the giant inflatable duck at HTO Park.
Over the weekend, festival organizers say they even called in extra staff to clean the area at HTO Park, but could not keep up with garbage piling in cans or strewn on the ground.
“We probably surpassed our total audience of the last number of years for three days in one day,” Redpath Waterfront Festival co-producer Lea Parrell said.
With Toronto Islands being shuttered until at least July 31 due to flooding, the crowds were larger than expected.
The giant inflatable yellow duck towed into Toronto’s harbourfront on Friday is part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
The six-storey tall tourist attraction, weighing 13,600-kilograms, with a $200,000 price tag, also drew swaths of people looking to snap a shot beside it, along with unmanageable amounts of waste.
Clean up responsibilities outside the park are shared between the city and the Harbourfront Centre, located nearby, according to authorities.
Waterfront Business Improvement Area spokesperson Kevin Curry says he’s never seen this amount of people in the 25 years the annual summer festival has been running.
He added that trash is piling up faster than it can be collected.
“When I came in this morning I arrived, I open my store and 10 o’clock, those bins were actually empty,” Curry told CTV News Toronto.
But these excuses do not make up for the lack of litter control, visitors and residents say.
“This is inexcusable, unacceptable,” one local said.
Clean up of Lake Ontario's shoreline is expected to begin Monday as the giant duck is packed up to head to Owen Sound, Ont.