Stratford salutes spring with a swan weekend of family fun March 31 to April 1!
Saturday, events take place downtown with the return of the Swan Quest, carriage rides and spring garden workshops. Sunday’s Swan Celebration takes to the street along Lakeside Drive (between Waterloo St. and Morenz Dr.) from noon – 4 pm. The return of the swans to the Avon River is one of Canada’s most unique events announcing the arrival of spring with the Swan Parade at 2 pm on Sunday.
Saturday, March 31
- Stratford City Centre businesses present the Stratford Swan Quest, distinctive topiary swans decorated and displayed in front of downtown businesses marking the arrival of spring. Shoppers are invited to find all twelve swans and nominate their favourite for the People’s Choice Award for a chance to win a $50 City Centre gift certificate. Ballots are available at each shop with a decorated swan and at Stratford Tourism Alliance where completed ballots will be received until 5 pm Saturday, March 31.
- Free horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered by the businesses of downtown Stratford from noon - 4 pm.
- Free Guided Swan Walk invite participants to view the swans in their winter quarters and see popular nesting spots as stories about Stratford’s swans are shared. Tour begins at 10:30 am at the Wm Allman Arena.
- Cozyn’s Garden Gallery presents a Spring Outdoor Planter workshop at 11 am.
- The Stratford Public Library is screening Swans on the Avon at 1:30 pm featuring music by Loreena McKennitt, narration by Colm Feore and photography by Kaarn and Allan Gough. Admission is free to this 80 minute video documenting a year in the life our Stratford swans.
- Anything Grows presents a Swan Watering Can Planter workshop using grasses and bulbs for spring at 2 pm.
- Children Sing: St. Marys Children’s Choir and Festival Singers along with 7 choirs from across Ontario perform at Knox Church at 7 pm.
- Fred Eaglesmith returns to Stratford for an evening of lively entertainment presented by Live @ the Masonic beginning at 8 pm.
Sunday, April 1
- Bring your family to the Swan Celebration from Noon – 4 pm along Lakeside Drive. Enjoy the premier performance of an original puppet show presented by The Other Hand Puppet Troupe, children’s entertainer Madame Buskerfly (on stilts!), street performers, story-tellers, face painting, bouncy castle, swan hats and crafts for children. A charity BBQ, free popcorn, cotton candy and Tim Hortons coffee will be available.
- A Swan photography exhibit by photographer, Erin Shipley, will be featured at the Kiwanis Community Centre.
- Gallery Stratford invites you to participate in creating a “hand–feathered” swan mural
- Pose for photos with BJ, the official swan mascot.
- Guided Swan Walks take place at 12 Noon and 3 pm at Wm Allman Arena.
- At 2 pm, The Swan Parade, organized by the volunteer Civic Beautification and Environmental Awareness Committee, begins as The Stratford Police Pipes and Drums lead the swans from their Winter Quarters along the parade route to the Avon River.
Free Parking is available in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival parking lot, corner of Lakeside Drive and Queen Street and along Lakeside Drive east of Front Street. People are encouraged to walk or ride their bicycles to the event.
For more information, a Swan Quest Ballot and a video clip of the swan parade, go to www.visitstratford.ca/swans, call 519-271-5140 or 1-800-561-7926, or visit us at Stratford Tourism Alliance, 47 Downie Street, Stratford.