Stratford, Ontario's annual Swan Parade expands to Weekend Affair, April 2-3

Named in the Top 11 signs of spring by the Boston Globe (2010), Stratford’s Annual Swan Parade, will take place on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm at the Avon River (Lakeside Drive at Wm Allman Arena). The return of the swans to the Avon River is one of Canada’s most unique events announcing the arrival of spring. This year the celebration lasts two days with activities planned April 2 and 3, 2011.

Saturday, April 2
A new Guided Swan Walk will be offered Saturday and Sunday. Participants will view the winter quarters and see popular nesting spots as stories about Stratford’s swans are shared. Tours run Saturday at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm beginning at the Wm Allman Arena, and Sunday at 12 Noon and 3:00 pm.

Stratford City Centre presents the first Stratford Swan Quest. Distinctive topiary swans decorated and displayed in front of downtown businesses will mark the arrival of spring. Shoppers are invited to find all twelve swans and nominate their favourite for the People’s Choice award. Ballots are available at each shop with a decorated swan and at Stratford Tourism Alliance where completed ballots will be received until 5:00 pm Saturday, April 2. Each person completing a ballot will receive City Centre Spring coupons and be entered into a draw for a chance to win a City Centre gift certificate.

Families are invited to visit the Stratford Public Library for swan crafts and stories on Saturday afternoon 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

The Innkeeper’s Dinner at Knox Church, beginning at 6 pm, features an innovative heritage menu by Chef Holbrook and is sponsored by the Stratford Perth Museum.

Harry Manx returns to Stratford for an evening of music – a unique “mysticssippi” style. Presented by Live at City Hall, the concert begins at 8:00 pm.
Sunday, April 3
Entertainment is presented from 12 Noon – 4:00 pm at the Wm Allman Arena and Lakeside Drive, by Stratford Tourism Alliance. Enjoy music by Symphony Brass Quintet, children’s entertainer Erick Traplin, story-tellers from the St. Marys Storytelling Festival, face painting, swan hats and crafts for children.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival will offer costume try-ons and a Sword Fight Demonstration at the Kiwanis Community Centre. Don’t forget your camera for some theatrical fun!

A Swan photography exhibit along with a wildlife display from Hullet Marsh will be featured at the Kiwanis Community Centre.

BJ, the official swan mascot, will be visiting and ready to pose for photos.

Guided Swan Walks take place at 12 Noon and 3:00 pm beginning at the Wm Allman Arena.
Stratford’s spring tradition of releasing the swans, organized by the volunteer Civic Beautification and Environmental Awareness Committee, begins at 2:00 pm. The Stratford Pipes and Drums lead the swans from their Winter Quarters on the south side of the Wm Allman Arena along the parade route to the Avon River. The District Scouting Movement and Community Services Staff assist the volunteers as Stratford’s feathered ambassadors make their way to their summer home.

Tim Hortons, Swan Parade Sponsor, will generously provide complimentary refreshments.

Bleacher seating is new this year, so plan to stay for the entire show. Parking is available along Lakeside Drive east of Front Street.

The Swan theme continues Sunday at Factory 163 with the Lyrical Goddess, an afternoon of poetry and prose readings from 3:30 – 5:00 pm by Gallery 96 artists.

The INNER chamber presents Serenade, music selected specifically to compliment the parade of the swans beginning at 6:00 pm at Factory 163.

For more information, a Swan Quest Ballot and a video clip of the swan parade, visit or call 519-271-5140 or 1-800-561-7926, or visit us at Stratford Tourism Alliance, 47 Downie Street, Stratford.