Celebrating the end of winter and the onset of spring in New England, Mayor Martin J. Walsh will host the first ride of the season as the popular Boston Swan Boats open at the Public Garden lagoon at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 16.
“We are proud to celebrate the 140th year that the Swan Boats have brought joy to the Public Garden and millions of residents and visitors since they were first launched,” Walsh said. “I’m pleased to join the Paget family and local schoolchildren for this historic ride around the Public Garden lagoon as we open the Swan Boats for another season.”
This annual rite is made possible thanks to the Paget family, owners and operators of the Swan Boats first launched by Irish immigrant and shipbuilder Robert Paget. Paget designed the Swan Boats after attending the opera Lohengrin in New York City. At the end of the opera, the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan.
Walsh will be joined on the first ride of the year with students from Boston Public Schools including the Ellis Mendell Elementary School and the Higginson/Lewis K-8 School, both in Roxbury. The students are drawing pictures of the Swan Boats in art class and their work will be randomly selected from all the drawings created. All of the artwork chosen will then be on display at City Hall.
2016 marks the 140th season for the Swan Boats. The oldest and smallest boat in the fleet just celebrated its 105th season, while the newest was launched in 1993. The swan on today’s boats is made from either copper or fiberglass, depending on the age of the boat, and encloses a paddle mechanism that is used to foot propel the boat through the water.
The Swan Boats are built on oak framed pontoons sheathed in copper just as they were initially constructed in 1877. After being stored in a safe place for the winter, the boats are returned to the Public Garden Lagoon in the spring with Mayor Walsh and his young guests celebrating the first ride of the season.
For more information, visit the Swan Boats of Boston online at www.swanboats.com or call 617-522-1966.