2024 Polar Bear Swims Around Vancouver

Two polar bears swimming

Photo: Hans-Jurgen Mager/Unsplash

Vancouverites have been plunging into the frigid ocean on New Year’s Day since 1920. Here are six places to take part in the chilly tradition on the first day of 2024.


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.
  • Warm up afterward with hot drinks and snacks. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate or head to a nearby cafe or restaurant.


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 2024, the Vancouver Polar Bear Dip will celebrate its 104th birthday!

The event takes place at English Bay on New Year’s Day from 12 pm to 4 pm with swimmers hitting the water at 2:30 pm. It includes live music, food trucks, and warming tents. For the ambitious, there is a 100-yard race out to a marker buoy. There will also be a designated family area and an accessible beach mat for those with mobility challenges. You can register online to receive an official participation certificate or order commemorative merch.

Commemorative 2024 Vancouver Polar Bear Swim merchandise.

Commemorative 2024 Vancouver Polar Bear Swim merchandise. Photo: City of Vancouver Parks, Recreation, and Culture

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 2024, 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. They also have baked goods, coffee, and hot chocolate for sale. Proceeds go to community causes.


Delta Polar Bear Swim

The Delta Polar Bear Swim takes place at Centennial Beach in Boundary Bay Regional Park on New Year’s Day. The event starts at 11:45 am with entertainment. 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.

Promotional poster for the Delta Polar Bear swim

Delta Polar Bear Swim. Photo: Delta.ca


White Rock Polar Bear Plunge

The Rotary Club hosts a polar bear swim on White Rock beach each year on January 1st. In 2024, the event starts with registration at 10:30 a.m., then the plunge at noon. They have prizes for the best costume too.

Promotional poster for the White Rock Polar Bear Plunge

Photo: Rotary’s White Rock Polar Bear Swim/Facebook


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. The organizers encourage carpooling as parking is limited.

Squamish Polar Bear Swim at Porteau Cove

Photo: Mike Wight/Squamish Polar Bear Dip

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