Hundreds prepare to Polar Bear Swim into Vancouver‘s New Year

If you’re looking to make a splash to start the new year, Vancouver’s Polar Bear Swim might be the party for you.

Hundreds of people each year gather at English Bay on New Year’s Day to spend seconds dashing into the ice-cold water, some while wearing costumes, all for the shock and awe of it.

Last year, 1,506 swimmers braved water temperatures of 7 degrees Celsius to make the Polar Bear swim a success. Air temperature that day was 1 degree Celsius.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s event:

Where: English Bay, Vancouver
When: 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
What: Bring a non-perishable food item or cash to donate to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
How: Quickly. Run QUICKLY. But you must also print and fill out an application form to be handed in on the day of the swim. You can find that form online .


• Those with heart problems should not participate.
• Kids must swim with an adult.
• Please leave your dogs at home.
• If you’re drinking (or if you’re still drunk from the night before), do not swim. Alcohol accelerates hypothermia.
• Don’t stay in the water longer than 15 minutes!
• Don’t strip down to your suit until swim time.

What else should I know?

• Be sure to dress up in a fancy costume.
• You can also participate in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100-yard swim race.
• If you need to prove that you did the dip, Polar Bear Swim merch will be available on site. T-shirts are $20 and sweatshirts are $30.
• Race competitors should meet in the front line ont he north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
• First three swimmers to touch the marker buoy should give their names to the lifeguard.
• Commemorative buttons are available at the large polar bear or the registration table.

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