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.
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
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.