Yesterday was the day the swans of Stratford have been looking forward to for months. The day they would be released back into the Avon River.
And the whole town celebrates.
The swans have been a part of Stratford's history since 1918 when a pair of Mutes were gifted to the city. And in 1967, a pair of Royal Mute Swans from the Queen's herd were sent over as a Centennial gift. From these are now about 20-odd swans who have their wings clipped so they can't fly too far away. The swans are gathered and housed in a spacious pen during the winter when the river freezes over and cared for by volunteers.
First, we'll take a walk downtown
where various business have decorated swan topiaries
Stratford is a theatre town with a Shakespeare Festival every summer.
This is the main Festival Theatre (there are three other smaller venues)
but, it is time to walk further along the river front... towards the area with the food trucks and activities to keep the kids entertained
Many people staked out their spot an hour or so before the 2pm parade start.
This parade is all about the swans - they are led to the water's edge by the Stratford Police Band
But, there is always someone who likes to be first and doesn't care about orderliness, like this Chinese Goose who lives with the swans. Most years, she is first out the gate, well ahead of the band. Maybe she doesn't like bagpipes?
For some reason there was a long delay. It can't be easy to round up a herd of swans and in the end it seemed a few were missing. I wondered where the lone black swan had gone. Finally, they came waddling around the corner and many of those who weren't holding up cameras and phones were applauding the stars
A few people set up on the other side of the river where they were suitably rewarded with a swim past.
The whole parade lasts about 10 minutes, but totally worth the 75 minute drive to see it.
A previous post, from 4 years ago, with video can be seen here
Sharing with Jo's Monday Walk and Lesley's signs, signs
What a totally extraordinary event! Only in America! (though you had me a little confused at the outset as to which country I was in- all down to my ignorance :) )ReplyDelete
Many thanks for sharing! I loved every second! That just added a new destination to my list :)
*Canada*, Jo. but I've been confused before, too, with same place names. :)Delete
A truly Canadian event celebrating the onset of Spring.ReplyDelete
It always surprises me how many people travel far and wide to be a part of it!Delete
I'm sorry that I missed the festivities. But swans from the Queen's "herd", really, not flock? Tom The Backroads TravellerReplyDelete
yep - 'herd'. I double checked. Personally, I thought they were a 'bevy', but we were both wrong, it seems.Delete
The river freezes?? Gosh. That sounds very chilly.ReplyDelete
we're used to it!!Delete
I heard them talking about it on CBC Radio - so glad that you went and shared these pics, Violet!ReplyDelete
It has become a right of spring for me now! (besides it makes a great blog post, yes?)Delete
Nice post and lovely signs.ReplyDelete
My SIGNS, SIGNS
Oh what fun! I've never heard of this.ReplyDelete
What an incredible event. A street parade of swans and in iconic Stratford no less.ReplyDelete
What fun! I would definitely make the drive to see the swan parade!ReplyDelete
What a lovely celebration - and a pipe band too!ReplyDelete
Anabel's Travel Blog
Adventures of a retired librarian