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Swan song along the Rideau River

Ottawa's Royal Swans may be spending their last summer along the Rideau River.
2018-06-25 swans
Swanmaster-Gerry Strik with Royal swans at their indoor winter quarters, March 9, 1978, City of Ottawa Archives/CA025513/Peter Earle

After more than 50 years, the Royal Swans may spend the rest of their days at Parc Safari. 

A new report coming to the city's Community and Protective Services committee asks council to consider gifting the aging swans to the park.

In 1967, Queen Elizabeth II gave the city of Ottawa six pairs of Mute swans to help celebrate Canada's Centennial. Then in 1974, the city received a pair of Australian Black swans in a trade from the Montreal zoo. 

The swans spend their summers along the Rideau River, but in recent years city staff have noticed that many eggs don't survive long enough and some swans have been killed by predators along the river. As such, the flock has dwindled down to just five.

In their report, city staff suggest gifting the remaining swans to Parc Safari, giving them a safe place to live year-round.

Part of the report also looks at the costs to keep the swans at the park for a few years, to allow them to breed safely, but that comes at a cost of $200,000 over five years. 


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