The Polar Bear Swim is an icy, scream-inducing tradition that happens every New Year’s Day on the frigid beaches of English Bay. An event for the fearless, the adventurous and yes–the crazy, the 93rd annual Polar Bear Swim in Vancouver is being held at 2:30pm, January 1st, 2014 at English Bay Beach for those of you that want to kick off the new year shivering, half-naked, and freezing.
Since 1920, people have been braving the English Bay waters to celebrate the beginning of a new year. What started with a humble 10 participants has surged into thousands of people who plunge into the Pacific Ocean with smiles and screams every year.
You can join the official Polar Bear Swim club before taking the plunge (membership is free and you get an official badge!), but there is no one stopping you from running into the ocean without a membership. Last year around 2,233 people officially participated, and over 18,000 people watched from the slightly warmer shore.
Costumes are highly encouraged, prizes will be awarded, and if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can participate in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race.
Or, you can always just watch all the action in your warm coat! Spectators are always welcome.
Registration takes place in front of the English Bay Bathhouse from 12:30pm to 2:30pm on January 1, 2013 and the swim takes place at 2:30pm on the dot.
Have you ever participated in the annual Polar Bear Swim in Vancouver? How was it, and would you do it again? Let us know in the comment section!