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94th annual Polar Bear Swim on January 1

December 23 2013

“The Polar Bear Swim is a great Vancouver tradition and has been part of many people’s holiday to-do lists," said Vancouver Park Board Chair Niki Sharma.

Polar Bear Swim

Kick start 2014 – on a cold note – with a dip in English Bay at the annual Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day!

Join thousands of hardy "polar bears" for this free community event at 2:30pm on January 1.

Swimmers have been starting the New Year by plunging into the chilly waters of English Bay since 1920 when the Polar Bear Swim was started by Peter Pantages. The swim, which is hosted by the Vancouver Park Board, has remained largely unchanged over the years. Wear a costume, compete in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100-Yard Swim Race, or just come out to watch and enjoy the fun!

The water temperature gets as low as 3°C (38°F).

“The Polar Bear Swim is a great Vancouver tradition and has been part of many people’s holiday to-do lists," said Park Board Chair Niki Sharma. “If you are joining us, please help make a difference by bringing a non-perishable food item or cash donation for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.”

The Cactus Club Café at English Bay will be giving out free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate with a donation to the Food Bank.

Enjoy your dip with these tips

Register for free starting at 12:30pm at the English Bay Bathhouse.

Bring supplies to stay warm – a towel, blanket, change of clothes, and warm outerwear – and know your limits in the cold water. Avoid diving into the water.

Children must be accompanied by an adult, and please keep your dogs at home.

The first three swimmers to reach the marker buoy in the 100-yard race will receive trophies. Commemorative Polar Bear Swim Club buttons will be available to bathers after the swim (limited quantity).

Limited edition commemorative t-shirts will be on sale.

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Learn more about the event

Polar Bear Swim at English Bay Beach in Vancouver

Polar Bear Swim

The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the oldest and largest in the world. Thousands of people gather at English Bay beach to take the plunge on New Years Day every year.