New Year’s Day swimmers venture into the Juan de Fuca Strait for the annual Jan. 1 polar bear swim at Taylor Beach on Metchosin. Due to algae blooms in both Thetis and Elk lakes

Chill seekers heading to Metchosin for Jan. 1 swim, but nowhere else

New Years a time for icy beginnings at 28th annual polar bear event

Baby it’s cold outside.It’ll be cold both outside and in the waters off Taylor Beach come New Year’s Day.

Chill seekers can take the plunge in the Juan de Fuca Strait on Jan. 1 for a polar bear swim steeped in 28 years of Metchosin history.

“The first year was just myself, my wife, a couple of friends and my (son),” said District Coun. Andy MacKinnon. “The last number of years we’ve had lots of people who will join us for a dip in the ocean. (And friends and neighbours) join us after the swim for hot spiced apple juice.”

MacKinnon’s personal New Year’s Day tradition started even before he moved to the rural farming community. He took his first polar bear plunge in Metchosin in 1989, but he’s participated in Jan. 1 swims for more than 40 years, he said.

While some of his friends like it because it guarantees nothing worse can happen throughout the year, he prefers a more positive mindset.

“I just find it a delightful way to start off the new year. It’s just a fun group activity and everyone enjoys it. I like leading the run and getting the body temperature up before you plunge into the icy cold ocean,” MacKinnon said.

“It’s also a fun family activity. We have had babes in arms who have come into the ocean, with lots of kids and people in their 80s participating in the swim as well.”

Last year, approximately 40 people took the plunge, with many more content to watch from the shore. The event was moved from Witty’s Beach to Taylor Beach in recent years, as the water is deeper closer to the shore and requires a shorter run to engulf one’s entire body.

As a warm-up for the swim, a six-kilometre run and three-km walk to the beach start at approximately 1 p.m., both ending up at Taylor Beach in time for swimmers to take to the sea at 2 p.m. The starting points and times were yet to be determined by the Gazette’s press time, but interested parties can call MacKinnon for details at 250-478-8232.

“I would encourage people to attend an event in their community and would welcome all Metchosin folks to the event and back to our house afterwards. (And) instead of wishing a Happy New Year, I will wish them a Happy Hogmanay,” he said, quoting the Scottish word for the last day of the year.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

When asked for advice hockey dad says ‘put your girls in soccer’

Guns could use smartphone-style fingerprint locks in near future

Startups looking to outflank traditional gun manufacturers using tech knowhow

Syrian violinist plays with new Canadian band at upcoming fundraiser

Sari Alesh played with the Symphony Orchestra in Syria for six years

Esquimalt to finalize township’s four-year plan

Council will soon make final decisions on its draft strategic goals and priorities

Sarah Beckett Cruise back for its fourth year this Sunday

Money this year is going into buying playground equipment for the playground in honour of the fallen constable

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Most Read