This year marks the 92nd annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim at English Bay. For those unfamiliar with the swim it’s when Vancouverites descend upon English Bay on new year’s day to take a dip in the frigid water. Question is will you be taking a dip? I know it sounds a little insane, however, each year a record for attendance is broken so it can’t be that bad. Plus many of the participants come dressed in wacky costumes.
The Vancouver Polar Bear SwimClub is one of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world. Its initial swim was in 1920 when a small number of hardy swimmers took the plunge into English Bay on New Year’s Day. Led by their founder, Peter Pantages, the swim has grown from around 10 swimmers in that year to the record number of 2,128 official entries in 2000.
The swim takes place at 2:30pm on the first day of each new year. This gives you enough time to struggle out of bed from the night before. Many participants come in costumes so if you want to dress up, by all means do so. The Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race is the highlight of this event.
To be a club member you must register before the swim. Registration takes place in front of the English Bay Bathhouse from 12:30pm – 2:30pm each New Year’s Day. Donation of non-perishable food bank items will be accepted.
When: January 1, 2011
Where: English Bay Bathhouse
Image: Mark Klotz