Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2009


Monday, December 22nd, 2008 — 4:20pm PST
Comments 15

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.

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15 comments

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

  2. Waxy says:

    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 Ingram says:

    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. Amber says:

    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. rachael says:

    They are all crazy people if you ask me. 🙂

  6. gusgreeper says:

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

  7. Phaedra says:

    I’ll be there – 3rd year in a row

  8. mojaveband says:

    we’ll be there too. first timers.

  9. paul hughes says:

    first one was 1985…

  10. Miss604 says:

    @ 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. jake says:

    what time does it actually start?

  12. Diamond Lou says:

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

  13. Miss604 says:

    I believe it starts at 2:30

  14. Tyler Ingram says:

    I went in! mauahaha

  15. jerry says:

    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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