A notable Ontario waterpark is getting the wrong kind of attention this week. That's after a man called imagery on Ottawa's Calypso Kongo Expedition ride "racist." The attraction is a river ride based around the theme of the former African kingdom of Kongo.
Local resident Robin Brown told CTV News that he could not believe it when he first saw the ride last summer. "Why have I not heard of this before? Calypso has been around for a while and these are not subtle racism, these are blatant, blatant racism," he said.
"Racist images like people in the U.S. South have on their lawn, like blackface, but really big ones looking like Africans with wild bulging eyes."
Brown added that the most offensive to him was the fact that at one stage of the ride, passengers travel under a giant cauldron. He called that inclusion "totally a reference to the 1950s movies where they show Africans as cannibals."
Brown says he wrote a letter to Calypso Park at the start of this month but is yet to receive a response. Until the issue is addressed, he is advocating a boycott of the waterpark.
CTV News reports that Calypso has acknowledged their multiple requests for comment but declined to respond.
Brown is not the first person to raise this complaint, though. In a comment on a January 2016 photo of the entrance to the ride posted by Calypso Park, Instagram user bear.it wrote: "Uhm this attraction is really f*cking racist."
Calypso Waterpark is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway, around 40 minutes' drive east of Ottawa. On its website, it describes the Kongo Expedition ride.
"An old legend has it that there is a mystery at the end of this wave river. What could it be? Jump on a giant inner tube and let the waves transport you through an unexplored world.
"Deserted islands, flooded caves and raging waterfalls await during this thrilling adventure! Watch out for the exotic animals, reptiles and sneaky primates along the way!"