Ottawa

Ottawa's royal swans to be set free

This week, Ottawa's royal swans will swim on the Rideau River after more than 18 months in their winter pens.

This week, Ottawa's royal swans will swim on the Rideau River after more than 18 months in their winter pens.

The City of Ottawa confirmed Monday that it will be releasing the mute swans onto the Rideau River Wednesday morning in Brantwood Park, near St. Paul University.

The swans usually spend the summer in the river, but last year city officials decided to quarantine them in their winterpens on Leitrim Road because they were afraid the swans might contract avian flu from wild birds.

That led to an outcry from a coalition of animal rights advocates, who called thefacility "Swantanamo Bay" and said the pens were too cramped.

The swans are normally returned to the pens in late October or early November.

In September, the city announced that it would either release the swans in the spring or send them to another city.

The city's royal swans are descendants of six pairs that Ottawa received as gift from Queen Elizabeth to honour Canada's 100th birthday in 1967.

now