For many residents of Lambton County, the beginning of spring is often associated with the return of the tundra swans. Once the tundra swans start to arrive spring is not far behind.

This year’s Return of the Swans Festival at the Lambton Heritage Museum will offer much for the family to do, whether the swans co-operate or not.

Return of the Swans Festival
March 11 – April 2, 2017

Visitors to the Lambton Heritage Museum agree it’s a ‘hidden gem’ – an enriching centre for children of all ages, with great exhibits and excellent family activities.

  • Explore interpretive displays
  • Discover the story behind the Thedford Bog
  • See a tundra swan up close
  • Learn about its migration story
  • Watch the favourite video “The Return of The Swans”
  • Enjoy Paint Ontario, a juried art competition and sale.

In a good year, there may be 15,000 individual birds resting on the bog, attracted by the melt water of spring and the remnants of the prior year’s corn crop. The first sound to be heard is the soft hoo-hoo-hoo, as the tundra swans glide effortlessly down to feed on flooded fields that mark the bottom of old Lake Smith.

The Lambton Shores area is fortunate to have a natural ‘staging’ place for the tundra swans behind the Lambton Heritage Museum property. This land is locally known as the Thedford Bog. Before it was drained for farming, this huge wetland was a stop-over for migrating birds. Each spring the fields continue to flood and the corn and bean stubble from the previous year’s harvest provides food for the traveling waterfowl. Depending on weather and field conditions, visitors can sometimes see thousands of swans, ducks and geese in their natural habitat. It is always best to call ahead or check the website as the swans can arrive as early as mid-February or as late as mid-March.



The Tundra Swan

True to its name, the Tundra Swan breeds on the high tundra of the Canadian Arctic.

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many swans flying

Swan Migration

Each year ‘Cygnus Columbianus’ makes a 6000 km round trip on its migration route.

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many swans flying

Thedford Bog

Now prime agricultural land, it was once a single massive wetland called Lake Smith.

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swan area map cropped

click to download pdf map of swan staging areas

One of the best places to view the swans is behind the museum along Greenway and Goosemarsh Roads. Bring your binoculars as the swans are sometimes a good distance back from the road.

To find out how many swans are in the area or for help planning your visit to the Return of the Swans Festival call the Lambton Heritage Museum at 519-243-2600.


Also at the Museum

Paint Ontario
March 11 – April 2, 2017

paintings on display at art showThe 21st Annual Paint Ontario Art Competition and Sale in the Lambton Gallery at the Lambton Heritage Museum attracts emerging and established artists from across the province.  This juried competition of “representational” art seeks paintings that depict the diversity of the Ontario landscape, architecture, flora and fauna, waterscapes and urbanscapes.  Artists compete for cash prizes and other awards.  Visitors enjoy the opportunity to view and purchase over 200  pieces of excellent original art ready to hang.

Hands-on Nature!
A travelling exhibition from the Royal Ontario Museum
March 5- April 28, 2017

Preserving the diversity of life on Earth is not only beneficial to humanity but essential.   Learn about different aspects and levels of biodiversity, from the broad perspective of habitats to the relationships of species and their genetic makeup.  Based on the popular Hands-on Biodiversity Gallery at the ROM, this exhibition features mounted specimens and includes several touchable and interactive elements built into the case drawers.  The topics covered include:  Diversity of Life, Biomes of Canada, Species Interactions, Invasive Species, Endangered Species and Conservation.  Hands-on Nature features the diversity of life in Canada and emphasizes our role as Canadians in preserving and restoring the habitats around us.

Active learning through observation and experimentation stimulates adults and children to become more aware of their natural surroundings.

Free with regular museum admission; regular museum hours.

Nearby Events

Ipperwash Maple Syrup Festival

March 18 & 19 and March 25 & 26

Williamson Farms and Forest Kiwanis invite you to join them for their 20th annual Ipperwash Maple Syrup Festival.
This event features:

  • All-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Legacy Recreation Centre (9am to 2pm – 16 Allen St, Thedford)
    • Prices: Adult $10, Child $7
  • Hay wagon rides at Silver Birches Campground (9am to 3pm – 9537 Army Camp Road, Ipperwash)
  • Sugar shanty tours at Williamson Farms (9am to 5pm – 7739 Lakeshore Road, Lambton Shores)

For more information  on the Ipperwash Maple Syrup Festival call 226-520-0144 or 519-243-2961.