Polar Bear Swim

Polar Bear Swim at English Bay Beach in Vancouver

The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club 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 new record of 2,550 official entries set in 2014.

The swim generally takes place at 2:30pm on the first day of each new year. Costumes and the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race are the highlights of this event.

To be a club member you must register before the swim – it's free. Prizes are drawn from all registrations. Register in front of the English Bay Bathhouse between 12:30pm and 2:30pm on January 1.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash.

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.

2014 Polar Bear Swim prize recipients

  • Adrian Colombo (Vancouver)
  • Alannah Jones (Vancouver)
  • Alexandra Manuel (Burnaby)
  • Alexandre Nicolaieff (Vancouver)
  • Andy Foster (Vancouver)
  • Ashley Ramsay (Vancouver)
  • Cheryl Winter (North Vancouver)
  • Daniel Claringbull (West Vancouver)
  • Diana Wilson (Vancouver)
  • Domonique Tin (Vancouver)
  • Fabio Rigollo (Vancouver)
  • Gabriela Westphal (Vancouver)
  • Gina Faigen (Vancouver)
  • Harriet Prince (Vancouver)
  • Ian Manson (Vancouver)
  • Jeffrey Proctor (Vancouver)
  • Joanne Roth (Coquitlam)
  • Kevin Pugh (Vancouver)
  • Leah Pearce (Vancouver)
  • Marilyn Wood (Burnaby)
  • Mark Smith (North Vancouver)
  • Nicole Secombe (Vancouver)
  • Park Wood-Jung (Vancouver)
  • Patsy Farrat (Vancouver)
  • Rebekkah Stainton (Vancouver)
  • Sally Laird (Vancouver)
  • Sarah Clayton (Vancouver)
  • Slavin Vadim (Vancouver)
  • Vinay Aery (Vancouver)
  • Ward Wilson (Vancouver)

Polar bear swim photos

Ask. Tell. Connect.

Phone 3-1-1 to ask, tell, and connect with the City

Outside Vancouver:
604-873-7000

Speak your own language

When should you call 9-1-1? Click to find out       Deaf? Have difficulty speaking? Click to learn how to make a TTY call

More ways to contact us

Contact the Polar Bear Swim Coordinator

Glenn Schultz
Vancouver Aquatic Centre
glenn.schultz@vancouver.ca

Did we beat a record?

Polar bear swim statistics

Prize Donors

Many thanks to the following companies who donated prizes to the 2014 swim:

  • 99.3 The FOX
  • Aquabus ferries
  • Cactus Club Café at English Bay
  • Kind Energy Bars
  • Movie Lone Survivor
  • Stepho’s Greek Taverna on Davie St
  • Vancouver Park Board

Last modified: Tue, 09 Dec 2014 13:22:42

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