The Dirty Duck, revisited: What staff and patrons think of the Swans of Inglewood lawsuit
By Tristan Oram, Staff Writer
In September, Calgary pub Swans of Inglewood opened under a new name after a legal battle with the similarly named Swans Hotel and Brewpub in Victoria, as The Reflector discussed in its previous issue. Now, staff and patrons of the longtime Inglewood establishment — now known as The Dirty Duck — are voicing their thoughts about the lawsuit and the new name.
Mardi Goyette has been the daytime bartender at the pub for eight years. She says that the litigation from Victoria’s Swans felt very much like the Brewpub was “picking on the small guy.”
While the lawsuit did not significantly affect staff morale overall, Goyette says she felt like she took the proceedings harder than others as a long-time staff member.
“I took it probably more personally than some of the staff here because I’m close with the owner,” Goyette says. “I didn’t like what [Swans Hotel and Brewpub] were doing.”
According to Goyette, The Dirty Duck did not have enough money to keep fighting the legal battle with the B.C. pub, which is owned by the University of Victoria.
Goyette says that the name-changing process was quite extensive and that she had a say in choosing a new name for the pub, but there was a personal connection to the name that the owners ended up choosing.
“I threw in ‘The Original Swan,’ and we took a lot of requests from customers,” Goyette says.
Ultimately, however, the pub took a page from co-owner Barry Fairbrother, who owned a pub on Macleod Trail that was called The Dirty Duck. So, we just went with that.”
Gerry Paridaen, a long-time patron of the Calgary pub, says that customers were able to view the situation with a little more humour than the owners, who were more directly affected.
“[We] just think it was kind of funny,” Paridaen says, despite being able to see the seriousness of the suit from the perspective of The Dirty Duck’s team.
“It costs money to change the business’ name, and it’s a pain in the ass,” he says.
Paridaen also remarked that the lawsuit came from a business that was in a different city altogether, a province away from the Calgary pub. He says it would make more sense if the competing pub was also in Calgary.
A recent Facebook post from The Dirty Duck offers a tongue-in-cheek explanation of the name change. It involves “a beautiful princess named Daisy” who is asked to change her “common” name to Rose, before “a wicked queen from a far off land” with the same name arrives, forcing the princess to go back to Daisy.
“And what, you may ask, does this story have to do with our name change? Nothing. Some a-holes tried to sue us so it was easier just to change it,” reads the post.
Swans Hotel and Brewpub once again did not respond to a request for comment. Nadina Stainsby, co-owner of The Dirty Duck along with Fairbrother, is unable to comment after signing a non-disclosure agreement and non-disparagement agreement with Swans Hotel and Brewpub, she told The Reflector in an email statement.