Swan River is a town in Manitoba, Canada. It is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Swan River and in the Swan River Valley. Swan River acts as the hub to the surrounding communities of Minitonas, Benito, Bowsman, Birch River, and the other communities in the valley. As of 2011, Swan River is Manitoba's 15th largest in population. The population of the town according to Statistics Canada in 2011 was 3,907, with an additional 2,546 people living in the surrounding rural municipality of Swan River.
The town is situated along the Swan River which flows into Swan Lake 55 km to the north-east, which is believed to be named for the swans that frequent the lake. Henry Kelsey became the first European explorer to visit the area in 1690. The name of the lake is first noted on a map created by Peter Fidler in 1795 and again on a French map in 1802 (as L du Cigne). The first permanent European settlement dates back to 1770, when fur traders from both the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company established outposts along the Swan River where they bought and sold goods to local Cree peoples by way of birch bark canoes.
In 1876, the musical band of the North-West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, made its debut in what was later to become Swan River. The instruments used in the band were purchased by the 20 officers in the band and shipped from Winnipeg by dog sled.
The first pioneers arrived in the Swan Valley through the Duck Mountains in 1897 and quickly developed the farming potential of the area. The proposed construction of a line of the Canadian Northern Railway was announced in 1898 and the town was founded in 1900, though it was little more than a post office at the time. Swan River was officially incorporated as a town in 1908.