January 19, 2018

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Vancouver Polar Bear Swim: 98th Year, January 1st

Photo Credit To City of Vancouver

New Year’s Day at English Bay

One of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world, this year will mark it’s 98th Polar Bear Swim at English Bay, bottom of Davie Street at Beach Ave.

Each year on New Year’s Day, thousands descend upon English Bay to witness and/or take the plunge. The first Polar Bear Swim happened way back in 1920, when a small number of hardy swimmers began the tradition.

It’s a Free Vancouver Tradition

Whether young, or young at heart, it all gets underway at 2:30 PM, but get there a bit earlier. Costumes are encouraged,, so dress up in something fancy or fun.

Compete in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race, named after the founder of the Polar Bear Swim.

Photo: Wikimedia commons GoToVan, Large crowd at English Bay for 2016 Polar Bear Swim

Charity Drive

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be on location. Please bring a donation of non-perishable food, or donate cash. The Food Bank needs your help if you can.

Swim tips

If you have a heart problem – just watch!
Children must swim and stay with an adult.
Please leave your dog at home.
Do not drink – alcohol does not warm you up – it accelerates hypothermia.
Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren.
Entrants in the 100 yard race – meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat – give your names to the lifeguard.
After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table.
Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.

Win Prizes by sharing your photos on Instagram and Twitter. Use #VanPolarBearSwim.

Register for the swim: click here to visit the City of Vancouver Registration Page

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