2023 Polar Bear Swims Around Vancouver

A polar bear getting ready to go for a swim.

Photo: Hans Jurger Mager/Unsplash

New Year’s Day Polar Bear swims are a Vancouver tradition dating back to 1920. Here are seven places around Vancouver to take a chilly dip to ring in 2023.


Polar Bear Swim Tips

  • Bring warm clothes and keep them on until it’s time to swim.
  • Wear a costume. It’s more fun that way.
  • Don’t forget your camera! Use a waterproof case to protect it.
  • Consider wearing water shoes or sandals. The beaches can be rocky.
  • Spend just a few minutes in the water. Your body cools down 25 times faster in water than it does in air.
  • Pack a towel, warm clothes, and a toque to put on afterward to help you warm up.

Vancouver Polar Bear Dip

In 1920, Vancouver-local Peter Pantages and several friends swam in English Bay on New Year’s Day. The tradition has continued ever since, with thousands of swimmers joining in the fun. In 2023, the Vancouver Polar Bear Dip tradition continues at English Bay this January 1st. Register online to receive a commemorative certificate.


Deep Cove Penguin Plunge

In North Vancouver, the Deep Cove Penguin Plunge is hosted each year by Deep Cove Kayak Centre. The event is going ahead again on New Year’s Day in 2023, but details are not yet available. Stay tuned!


Port Moody Penguin Plunge

The Pleasantside Community Association holds a Penguin Plunge at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody each year on January 1st. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. and swimmers hit the water at 1 p.m. Participation costs $5 per person or $10 for a family of four. Proceeds go to community causes.


Delta Polar Bear Swim

The Delta Polar Bear Swim takes place at Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen on New Year’s Day. The event starts at 11:45 am with entertainment including face painting and a drum circle. Registration opens at noon with swimmers hitting the water at 1 p.m. There are prizes for fun categories like the oldest swimmer and the swimmer who lives the farthest away.


Fort Langley Polar Bear Swim

Plunge into the Fraser River at the Fort Langley Polar Bear Swim. The event takes place on New Year’s Day at Brae Island Regional Park across from Fort Langley Village. Swimmers hit the water at 11:30 a.m. Volunteers will be on-hand to clear a path to the water and chop ice out of the river if necessary.


White Rock Polar Bear Plunge

The Rotary Club hosts a polar bear swim on White Rock beach each year on January 1st. In 2023, the event starts with registration at 10:30 a.m., then the plunge at noon. They have prizes for the best costume too.


Squamish Polar Bear Swim

Head to Porteau Cove Provincial Park for the annual Squamish Polar Bear Swim this New Year’s Day. Everyone is welcome and costumes are encouraged. The swim starts at noon and is organized by the Swim Wild Squamish Community.

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