Rainbow Valley's souped-up swan making waves

One of the iconic swans from the former beloved P.E.I. attraction Rainbow Valley has been souped up and is making waves in New London Bay on the Island's northern shore.

The previously unhurried big bird boat from Rainbow Valley is now a speed demon on the water

Rainbow Valley swan gets an upgrade

8 years ago
Duration 0:52
A swan boat from the former Rainbow Valley attraction in P.E.I. has a new life ... as a speed boat?

One of iconic swans from the former Rainbow Valley in P.E.I. has been souped up and is making waves in New London Bay, on the Island's northern shore.

In their former life at Rainbow Valley, the motorized swans were a popular feature.

But they weren't that speedy.

'We said, 'Clark, we need a swan buddy.'"- Pierce Clarke

Now, complete with a Sea-Doo hull and motor, this big bird, named Birdie, is turning lots of heads on the Southwest River.

"They actually had an electric trolling motor in them and they just had an on-off button and they moved maybe half a kilometre [per hour] along the water," said Clark Waite of Kensington, who built the boat for his friends Ellen Clarke and Steve Smith.

"And this one here now will do 37 miles an hour [60 km/h] with two people and it actually seats four."

Ellen's brother Pierce Clarke says the idea came about last year around the time a Rainbow Valley documentary was released. After just finishing construction on a cottage, the couple said they needed a boat. It became a joke among friends and family that they needed a swan boat.
Clark Waite rebuilt Birdie for his friends Ellen Clarke and Steve Smith. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"We said, 'Clark, we need a swan buddy.' Not half an hour later he rolled up to the house with a swan on the back of his flatbed truck. It felt like Christmas morning," said Pierce Clarke.

Waite found a swan on Kijiji that was being sold by a man who purchased it from the owners of Rainbow Valley, so Clarke and Smith took ownership.

Waite's reconstruction took about 10 months and more than $10,000.  The whole structure had to be re-fibreglassed and was cut into five pieces and remolded back together.

The swan was unveiled in its new incarnation on July 1.

Waite says the swan gets quite a reaction when it's out on the water.

"They're all laughing and yelling. Especially all the people we see out on the boats. And even people when we go under the bridge are stopping on the bridge and looking over the bridge and everybody's got their phones," he said.

Clark Waite and Pierce Clarke take Birdie for a ride. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)