Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2024

Add a Comment by Alexis Miles

Swimmers and spectators are welcome to the 104th anniversary of the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim on January 1, 2024 at English Bay for the annual cold plunge.

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

  • Date: January 1, 2024
  • Time: 12:00pm to 4:00pm (official swim time at 2:30pm)
  • Location: English Bay Beach
  • Registration: Participants are encouraged to register online in advance to receive a participation certificate.

Indoor spaces will be available including change rooms, washrooms and warming tents. Coat check, by cash or tap donation, will be available on-site, with all funds going to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Swimmers are encouraged to pack light and arrive ready to swim, as coat check space is limited. Portable toilets and fan-favourite activities like live music, entertainment, and food trucks will also be available.

Swimmers entering the 100-yard race should meet behind the start line. The first three swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat should give their names to the lifeguard. After the swim, participants can pick up their commemorative button at the centre-tower Family Zone or Information Tents spread throughout the beach.

2024 Polar Bear Swim commemorative merchandise, such as hoodies, toque and t-shirts are available for purchase online with a limited amount available for purchase on site. 

Additional safety considerations:

  • Individuals with heart problems should only watch.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Dogs are not permitted in the swim.
  • Alcohol is not permitted. Consumption of alcohol increases the risk of hypothermia.
  • Limit water time to under 15 minutes to prevent excessive body heat loss.
  • Remove clothing only when it’s time to swim. The swim will start with a flag and siren signal.

History of the swim

In 1920, Peter Pantages and nine other brave swimmers started their New Year in style by plunging into the chilly waters of English Bay. The group became known as the Vancouver Polar Bear Club. Since then, the swim has grown into a much loved highlight of the holiday season.  

PeterPantages_Snow_Vancouver Polar Bear Swim
Polar Bear Swim Founder Peter Pantages. Photo 1927 by Stuart Thomson.

Peter’s granddaughter, Lisa Pantages, will also be joining for her 62nd swim – all but two have been at English Bay.

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