Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2009

Comments 15 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Vancouver’s 89th annual Polar Bear Swim will take place New Years Day at English Bay.

The Vancouver Annual Polar Bear Swim started in 1920 when a dozen hardy swimmers took the plunge into English Bay on New Year’s Day. Since then, the polar bear swim has grown to a couple of thousand swimmers that don colourful costumes, participate in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race, or simply take a quick and icy dip, followed by a warming steam sauna on the beach.

Participation is free, but you must register. Registration is from 12:30 – 2:30pm in front of the English Bay Bathhouse on New Year’s Day.

Started by Peter Pantages (the same Pantages as the theatre) this has become a cherished (yet frightfully chilly) tradition in Vancouver for the better part of the last century. John and I won’t be in town then but I look forward to #PolarBearTweetup updates from the web.

15 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Taris JanitensMonday, December 22nd, 2008 — 9:09pm PST

    Did you participate?!? I can barely stand to get out of my bed in the morning into the cold winter air lol

  2. WaxyMonday, December 22nd, 2008 — 10:51pm PST

    I’m looking down at the beach which is blanketed with the white stuff. It would make for an even more intense mad dash if the snow is still around in 10 days. I’m told there is another 20cm on the way. Yoohoooo!

    Full Disclosure Clause: I’ve never made the swim — and don’t have any plans too, ever — but my wife has. I’m much happier photographing the crazies… and that includes my family. 🙂

    See ya on New Years Day!

  3. Tyler IngramTuesday, December 23rd, 2008 — 8:51am PST

    Robyn wants her and I to partake this year. She did it last year and wants me to go in this year. I suppose I can deal with a cold better than most people it seems, perhaps I will! Our place is just 1.5 streets up from the beach so the hot shower isn’t that far away hehe

  4. AmberTuesday, December 23rd, 2008 — 9:31am PST

    Brrr – even just looking at that photo makes me feel cold! I don’t think I could actually participate. I prefer to watch the news reports from the comfort of my living room. 😉

  5. rachaelTuesday, December 23rd, 2008 — 9:39am PST

    They are all crazy people if you ask me. 🙂

  6. gusgreeperTuesday, December 23rd, 2008 — 12:31pm PST

    im pretty sure myself and phaeds are doing it, i’ve never done it but always wanted to, lord only knows why.

  7. PhaedraTuesday, December 23rd, 2008 — 12:42pm PST

    I’ll be there – 3rd year in a row

  8. mojavebandSunday, December 28th, 2008 — 2:57pm PST

    we’ll be there too. first timers.

  9. paul hughesWednesday, December 31st, 2008 — 7:14pm PST

    first one was 1985…

  10. Miss604Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 — 8:31pm PST

    @ Paul – I’m afraid you’re mistaken, this Polar Bear Swim has been happening in English bay for the last 89 years (started by Pantages as stated).

  11. jakeThursday, January 1st, 2009 — 11:09am PST

    what time does it actually start?

  12. Diamond LouThursday, January 1st, 2009 — 12:06pm PST

    I know it says registration 12:30 to 2:30 but what time do they all run in together?

  13. Miss604Thursday, January 1st, 2009 — 12:21pm PST

    I believe it starts at 2:30

  14. Tyler IngramThursday, January 1st, 2009 — 6:05pm PST

    I went in! mauahaha

  15. jerryTuesday, February 3rd, 2009 — 3:23am PST

    Brings back great memories of my visit to Vancouver from England in 2005.We went along to English bay to watch hundreds of “idiots” swim in the ocean in sub zero temperatures.I got carried away with all the excitement & borrowed a pair of shorts & did the swim myself.Wouldnt have missed it for the world! Couldnt believe my eyes when we got back to the hotel & put the tv on & there I was with the “idiots”.Vancouver is a great city & I hope to go back some day.

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