A group of brave swimmers go in for a quick dip during Metchosin’s annual polar bear swim on Jan. 1, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Ed Watson Photography)

Greater Victoria polar bear plunges

Many will take an icy plunge on New Year’s Day

It’s the perfect wake-up call after a night of celebrations.

Every New Year’s Day, many Canadians participate in polar bear swims, plunging into icy waters to wash away the previous year and start new.

This year is no different, with three polar bear swims scheduled in the Greater Victoria area.

For the second time in a row, VSN hosts a Polar Bear Swim at Esquimalt Lagoon. Everyone can register for the swim for $5, with proceeds going to KidSport Greater Victoria. Those who want a convenient way to warm up after taking a dip can pay $30 and receive a commemorative T-shirt, hot chocolate and access to heated shelters.

Last year, about 500 people participated in the swim. This year’s starts around 11:30.

There will be a ceremonial send-off with the Songhees First Nation to acknowledge the celebrations are taking place on the land of the Lekwungen People. There will also be a ceremonial first dive by a uniformed Victoria HarbourCats baseball player.

“It’s kind of like in baseball, you have a ceremonial first-pitch,” said organizer Christopher Kelsall.

There will also be draw-prizes, one of which will go to the first person fully immersed in water.

“It’ll be fun,” Kelsall said. “I dove in last year after everyone was done, I couldn’t get out quick enough.”

The Peninsula Celebrations Society holds its annual Polar Bear Swim on the same day at Glass Beach at the end of Beacon Avenue.

In Sooke, the Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department hosts its annual swim at Whiffin Spit Park.

Metchosin will hold its annual swim at 2 p.m. at Taylor Beach after a six kilometre run and three kilometre walk to warm up.

READ MORE: Sooke’s polar bear swim a shiveringly good time

READ MORE: Otter Point Fire Department hosts 26th Polar Bear Swim

If you go:

Esquimalt Polar Bear Swim

Tues., Jan. 1, 11:30 a.m.

Esquimalt Lagoon

Registration is $5 for a regular ticket or $30 for a ticket, t-shirt, hot chocolate and access to heated shelters

Proceeds go to KidSport Greater Victoria

More information here

Sidney Annual Polar Bear Swim

Tues., Jan. 1, noon

Glass Beach, Sidney with access at end of Beacon Avenue

Free

More information here

Sooke Polar Bear Swim

Tues., Jan. 1, 11:30 a.m.

Whiffin Spit Park, Sooke

Free

More information here

Metchosin Polar Bear Swim

Tues., Jan. 1, 2 p.m. run/walk starts at 1 p.m.

Taylor Beach

Free

More information here

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Almost four of 10 Canadians have unlimited internet data at home

Fifty-four per cent say they telecommute at least sometimes

Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

A severe doctor shortage is leaving Esquimalt residents scrambling for health care

Student Voice: Saanich students launch competitive robotics team

The Reynolds Reybots plan to share their skills with middle schools

Royal BC Museum’s newest series takes visitors behind the scenes

Adult sessions explores art, nature, history and more

What are the worst parking spots in Victoria?

We are looking for the worst places in the city to park and need your opinion

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read