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Polar Bear Swim back for 95th year on January 1

December 26 2014

“The Polar Bear Swim is a great Vancouver tradition and has been part of many people’s holiday to-do lists. There’s a lot of great energy and, even if you’re not swimming, it’s fun to watch," said Vancouver Park Board Chair John Coupar.

Polar Bear Swim

New Year’s Day is a great time to get a fresh start so why not take an invigorating dip in English Bay during the annual Polar Bear Swim!

Join thousands of hardy ‘Polar Bears’ for this free community event at 2:30 pm. 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.

Swim race

The swim, which is hosted by the Vancouver Park Board, has remained largely unchanged over the years. Don’t forget to dress up in a fancy costume, if you’re so inclined, compete in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race, or just come out to watch and enjoy the fun!

Water temperature has been recorded as low as 3 degrees Celsius (38 degrees Fahrenheit).

Donations accepted for food bank

“The Polar Bear Swim is a great Vancouver tradition and has been part of many people’s holiday to-do lists. There’s a lot of great energy and, even if you’re not swimming, it’s fun to watch," said Vancouver Park Board Chair John Coupar. “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 event is free, but participants are encouraged to download the registration form, complete it, and bring it to the swim to avoid lineups and win a Polar Bear Swim Club 2015 badge.

Registration form

Swim tips

  • Registration begins at 12:30 pm at the English Bay Bathhouse
  • Limited edition commemorative tshirts will be on sale
  • 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)
  • Be Water Smart – know your limits, avoid diving into the water
  • Swimmers should have supplies to stay warm: a towel, blanket, change of clothes, and warm outerwear
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Dog owners are asked to leave their pets at home

Learn more about the Polar Bear Swim

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.