Polar Bear Swim New Year’s Day Vancouver, North Vancouver, Delta

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It was in 1920 that Peter Pantages, founder of Vancouver’s Polar Bear Swim Club, led a hardy group of swimmers who all plunged into English Bay on New Year’s Day. There were 10 participants back then and now, 99 years later, over 2,000 people participate in this local tradition each year.

Peter Pantages on a snowy Vancouver beach in 1927. Archives# CVA 99-1786.

Polar Bear Swim Vancouver

The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim takes place at 2:30pm on the first day of each new year. Costumes and the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race are the highlights of this event. To be a club member you must register before the swim, it’s free. Prizes are drawn from all registrations. Download the registration form online and bring it to English Bay before the swim, starting at 12:30pm on January 1st.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash on site as well.

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2011
New Year’s Day 1939 + 2011. Archives# CVA 371-836 + Photo credit: Michael Kalus

Polar Bear Swim North Vancouver

Deep Cove Panorama Park hosts the annual Penguin Plunge on January 1st from 12:30pm to 3:00pm, with the plunge promptly taking place at 2:00pm. Enjoy live music, food and refreshments. Participants can collect pledges for their plunge, with proceeds going to the Royal Canada Marine Search & Rescue Stn 2.


Join the 39th Annual Polar Bear Swim at Centennial Beach (Boundary Bay Regional Park) on Sunday, January 1, 2019. Registration starts at 12:00pm and the Polar Bear Swim is at 1:00pm. There will be plenty of prizes, activities and entertainment for the entire family to enjoy.

Port Moody

Take the Penguin Plunge in Port Moody at 1:00pm on January 1st at the Rocky Point boat launch. Registration starts at 11:30. As this is a fundraiser for Pleasantside Community Association we ask participants pay $5.00 per person or $ 10.00 for a family of 4. Money collected goes towards programs at Old Orchard Hall, Play Pals, Can Can dancers, and seniors badminton. There will be sweet treats, coffee and hot chocolate for purchase.

2013 Polar Bear Swim in White Rock, BC
Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

NOTE: There will be no Polar Bear Swim in White Rock this year. Rotary Club of White Rock announced on Facebook Saturday that the event was called off due to significant damage to the city’s pier and waterfront. [Source]

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