Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2012

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim returns to English Bay for the 92nd year thanks to Mr. Peter Pantages. It was in 1920 that Pantages created the club and the brisk ocean dip has been a New Year’s tradition ever since. Peter’s family still carries on the tradition of the Polar Bear Swim Club today.

December 15, 1927 – Miss E Robinson & Pete Pantages. Archives item# CVA 99-1783.
Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

December 15, 1927 – Miss E Robinson & Pete Pantages. Archives item# CVA 99-1787.
Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

New Year’s Day 1939 – Polar Bear Swim Club. Archives item# CVA 371-836.

Around the 1950s, the participation was approximately 250 to 300 swimmers, and six lifeguards and one supervisor were used for safety supervision. Today, anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 swimmers participate (record to-date 2,246 in 2011) and 5,000 to 10,000 spectators making it necessary for the Park Board to construct a fenced enclosure for the swimmers. – Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2011
New Year’s Day 2011. Photo credit: Michael Kalus on Flickr – Michael Kalus Print

Photo credit: Magalie L’Abbé on Flickr

Vancouver - English Bay Beach - Polar Bear Swim Van 2011 polar bear swim
Photo credit: Dani Robles & Kenhall on Flickr – Submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Pool

Polar Bear Swim 2011
Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Participation is free but you must be registered with the club in order to do the swim. Registration is from 12:30pm to 2:30pm on Sunday, January 1, 2012 in front of the bath house in English Bay.

If you can’t make it downtown, there is also a Polar Bear Swim in White Rock organized by the White Rock Lions Club. Registration begins 10:00am and the swim will take place at 12:00pm. Swimmers are to meet at the White Rock.

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1 Comment  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Pam DruckerSunday, January 1st, 2012 — 12:36pm PST

    Getting psyched, sorta, to do my first polar bear swim.

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