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Did you know that the black-legged swans are Royals?

Enjoy an up close view of the Stratford swans boating along the Avon river.

The Mute swan may further be divided by colour variation. The black-legged swans are Royals and come from Great Britain. The beige-legged swans are called Polish swans and they are from Eurasia. In 1967, Queen Elizabeth II gave six pairs of mute swans to Ottawa in honour of the country’s 100th birthday, and one duo ended up in Stratford six years later. The female, named the West End Lady, lived for two decades and had five mates. Her blood still runs through offspring currently paddling along the River.

However, swans have been a treasured part of Stratford long before that. The first swans were gifted by a man named J.C. Garden in 1918. Over the years the swans quickly became a popular attraction, and they soon became synonymous with the city. In fact, the local Chamber of Commerce even adopted a slogan: "Stratford: The Swan City." The swans are beloved by locals and tourists alike for their beauty and grace. Every year in mid-April, a parade is held to release them back into the river. With hops that dozens of baby cygnets hatch from eggs laid in nests located along the River banks.

Come check out what makes these majestic creatures so special while paddling along the River.

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