Illustration of a polar bear in a bath tub

Polar Bear Swim to go digital for second year in a row

December 21 2021 –

The Polar Bear Swim event will once again go digital in light of the most recent public health order .

On January 1, at 2:30pm, participants are encouraged to take a dip in a bathtub or kiddie pool and, if brave enough, adjust the temperature to 7°C, the average ocean water temperature of previous Polar Bear Swims.

Registration and event details

Registration is now open, and registered participants will receive a commemorative certificate after the event.

Anyone who emails a photo or video to showing their participation will also receive a commemorative button. 

2022 Polar Bear Swim merchandise , such as hoodies, toques, and t-shirts is available for purchase online.

History of the swim

The Polar Bear Swim is one of the largest and oldest in the world. In 1920, Peter Pantages and nine other brave swimmers started their New Year in style by plunging into the chilly waters of English Bay. The group became known as the Vancouver Polar Bear Club.

Since then, the swim has grown into a much loved highlight of the holiday season. On January 1, 2020, it celebrated its centennial with more than 40,000 spectators and 7,029 registered swimmers.

Peter’s granddaughter, Lisa Pantages, will also be joining for her 60th swim (and her second dip from home).

“Polar Bears are an adaptable bunch, and once again we can keep our traditions going by bringing all the fun, creativity, and energy to a swim closer to home,” said Lisa. “I look forward to washing off 2021 and diving into 2022 knowing that it is full of potential.”

Learn more about the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim


Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon

“While we are deeply disappointed that this great tradition will not be happening in person again this year, we know this is the right decision to make for the health and safety of swimmers and spectators,” said Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon. “We thank staff for working swiftly to make the necessary adjustments so the event can still go ahead in a safer format.”