Dive into 2012: Vancouver Polar Bear Swim January 1

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim. Photo: The Korea Times

Feel like doing something totally different—and definitely invigorating—to welcome in the New Year? How about diving into 2012 with thousands of other Vancouverites by taking a plunge into the chilly waters off English Bay Beach this Sunday, January 1, during the 92nd annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim?

Though there’s a global tradition of Polar Bear Plunges—winter swims usually organized as charity fundraisers—Vancouver’s beloved and crazy Polar Bear Swim is one of the largest and oldest in the world.  First held in 1920, the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim reached its zenith in 2011, with 2,246 swimmers!

To take part in the 2012 Polar Bear Swim, all you need to do is show up at the English Bay Beach Boathouse (on English Bay Beach) between 12:30pm – 2:30pm on January 1 for the free, pre-swim registration. The swim itself takes place at 2:30pm.

What to wear? Costumes are welcome—even encouraged—so wear your zaniest outfit to maximize the surreality. Previous Polar Bear Swims have seen swimmers dressed as everything from Santa to Batman! Or, for the full I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this effect, take the plunge in your undies (just make sure you have something dry and warm to wear afterward).

As in previous years, the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2012 helps raise cash and food supplies for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Registration for the swim is FREE, but donations of cash or non-perishable food are greatly appreciated!

Ever taken the plunge at the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim? Please share in the comments!

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