Dive into 2011: The 91st Annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim on January 1

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2010. Photo: Steve Bosch, PNG / Richmond News

If there’s one New Year’s tradition that will definitely shock your system, it’s the annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim. Join over a thousand Vancouverites at this crazy, beloved tradition and plunge into 2011 with a dip in the chilly waters off English Bay Beach this Saturday, January 1.

Polar Bear Plunges–winter swims often organized as charity fundraisers–happen all over the globe. But when it comes to New Year’s Day Plunges, the Vancouver 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 2000, with over 2,000 swimmers.

So how do you participate? Just show up at the English Bay Beach Boathouse (on English Bay Beach) between 12:30pm – 2:30pm on January 1 to register. The swim itself takes place at 2:30pm.

What should you wear? Given that previous Polar Bear Swims have seen swimmers in costumes that range from superheroes to Santas, wear anything you don’t mind getting wet!

As in past years, the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2011 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 tell all in the comments!

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