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swans on the Stratford Avon River

Meet the true stars of Stratford—our swans!

If there's one image that says Stratford to everyone who visits, it is our swans. Regal, graceful, majestic—these are all words that describe these noble birds. Stratford's honorary ambassadors set the pace for the city. But beware—they can be cranky, and one should keep one’s distance. These birds are, after all, royalty!

The presence of this Royal Family is one of our oldest and proudest traditions. The swans have been lovingly guarded and raised here in Stratford since 1918. You can download and read about our pride and joy in the brochure The Swans of Stratford.

We don’t consider spring officially launched until their annual release, the first Sunday in April. Join the feathery herd as it waddles along to the Avon River, as people watch and cheer them on. The Stratford Police Services Pipes and Drums Band provides the musical lead.  But beware—you'll be observed, too: the swans have been penned up all winter, so you can be sure they'll stretch their curious heads to take a gander at you!

You can learn more about these gorgeous creatures on our StratfordON YouTube Channel that discuss their mating habits, hatching, and tending, and that reveal to you the scandal of swan adultery— the Story of Bonnie and Clyde! These are narrated by Colm Feore to music by Loreena McKennitt, both residents of Stratford.

The 2020 parade has been cancelled. It is coordinated by the Civic Beautification and Environmental Awareness Committee in conjunction with City of Stratford’s Community Services.

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