Trumpeter swans get attention during a council meeting to hear public concerns about the budgets.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 5th, 2019



It was a short meeting.  Scheduled as an occasion to take a deeper look at the budgets being developed for the 2019 tax year – there was just the one delegation – that from,James Sisson, a retired city hall employee who finally got to make a delegation directly to city council. As a city employee he didn’t make delegations.

Steve on budget

James Sisson

His concern was to urge Council not to pass a tax increase of more than 5% – Mayor Meed Ward told Sessions that the Finance department has put forward a budget with a 3.99% increase and that she was looking for a way to get that number down to 2.99%

Liz Benniean Trumpeters

Liz Benneian, spokesperson for the Trumpeter Swan coalition.

The meeting heard a delegation from Liz Benneian, spokesperson for the Trumpeter Swan coalition. She gave a brief review of the history of the swans and why they are here in Burlington. Benneian told council that there are about 1000 trumpeter swans and that they have been in Canada for the past 35 years. There was a time when the birds were basically extinct – a citizen retrieved some eggs and had them hatched – the beginning of the flock in Burlington. More on that when we can get a copy of the delegation – it’s quite a story.


City Council heard a detailed delegation on the Trumpeter Swans that hang out at LaSalle Park.

The delegation was significantly different than past delegations when a former council member would hammer delegations over the damage the swans did to LaSalle Park. It was a different story last night – even Councillor Sharman had kind words for the delegation.

Council meetings frequently place what are called “consent: items on the agenda; these are items that are passed without comment but can be pulled from the consent list and debated should a council member want to do so.

The Burlington Hydro financial statements were approved on consent. They will go to Council later in the month. Burlington Hydro is owned by the city – it produces a very healthy dividend each year and has a reserve fund that has been reported to be at $48 million.

More than $4 million was drawn from that reserve fund to pay for the improvements to the LaSalle Park Marina.

The Gazette will take a closer look at the financial report.

It was a quiet, short meeting – with one little gem of information. When Liz Benneian told council that there was a plaque elsewhere in the province celebrating the Trumpeter Swan that was the core of the flock in Burlington the Mayor asked why there wasn’t a plaque in Burlington. Benneian explained that the swan had been killed at Lake Simcoe. “We will have to fix that”, said the Mayor.

Trumpeter swans x3

Trumpeter swans – large flock call LaSalle Park home.

Expect to see an event at LaSalle Park where the Mayor will unveil a plaque celebrating “pig pen”; a Trumpeter Swan who apparently recognized and responded to his name when it was called out.

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3 comments to Trumpeter swans get attention during a council meeting to hear public concerns about the budgets.

  • Birds are wonderful connection to our disappearing link to nature. If you have a backyard and can purchase a feeder and some bird food, you should. For a small price and minimal effort, you can experience some pleasure by observing a hidden part of our world that often goes unnoticed and taken for granted.

    For accuracy, the swans with the yellow / orange beaks in the first picture are the non-native mute swan, imported from Europe. It is the bird of the famous ballet “Swan Lake” and the fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling”.

    The native black beaked Trumpeter swan has an interesting history you can read about on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

    Interesting that the Cornell site doesn’t have Burlington displayed on their range map. Maybe the Trumpeter Swan Coalition can get them to update their map. 🙂

  • Colleen

    Years ago, when my daughter was in Brownies, they had a community trip to learn about hte Trumpeter Swans, hear about their history, and feed them with the volunteers. It was wonderful. We go back there many times a year to try and see the swans and find the Trumpeter Swan her troop was allowed to name (H80 I believe…they named the swan Kitten). YEs, they cause damage and take over the waterfront…yet is is nice to know the volunteers in Burlington have brought back this majestic swan and provide a winter refuge for them!

  • Dave

    Indeed, the Trumpeter Swan restoration story is a great one that every Ontarian and Burlingtonian should be aware of and proud of. In an age of species around the world going extinct every day, the swans are a conservation success story of how people can make a difference to reverse the trend of human destruction of our Earth.

    Many residents still aren’t aware of the swans and their story. Some think they’ve seen them before, because they see a few swans with orange bills swimming around the bay in the summer. However, those aren’t Trumpeters; they are Mute Swans. Trumpeters have black bills and are larger, and are mostly here only during the winter, in numbers of 100 – 200 swans.

    I encourage everyone to go check them out at the LaSalle Park waterfront. In particular, on this upcoming Family Day, Feb. 18th, from 11 am – 2 pm, there will be information booths and swan banding demonstrations to teach people about the swans. Link:

    Kids and adults alike always love seeing the swans up close. Dogs are best kept away, as they can make the swans nervous. As always, people should not feed the swans or waterfowl, as certain foods can be harmful to them, and it is also against city by-law in Burlington to do so, except for by a few licensed ‘swan restoration people’, identified by their jackets.

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