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Vancouver Mom > Kid-Friendly Vancouver > Metro Vancouver polar bear swims + TIPs for first-timers!

Metro Vancouver polar bear swims + TIPs for first-timers!

Nothing cures the hangover of the Christmas holiday quicker than jumping into frigid water for a New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim. Here are a few swimming events for the whole family, happening January 1 in and around the Lower Mainland and a few tips on how to survive a dunk in the icy waters.

>> Check out our family friendly New Year’s Eve events

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim in English Bay

Join hundreds of other brave swimmers for an invigorating dip in English Bay – a tradition dating back to 1920! Highlights include creative costumes and the Peter Pantages Memorial 100-yard swim race. Tag #VanPolarBearSwim on your Instagram and Twitter photos for a chance to win prizes. Registration is free and mandatory for swimmers. Donations for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank are also accepted and greatly appreciated.

2:30 pm. to 3:30 pm at the English Bay Bathhouse – 1700 Beach Avenue, Vancouver

Penguin Plunge in Deep Cove


Support the North Shore Rescue at this free Polar Bear swim, by having your generous family members and friends pledge your plunge. Prizes awarded to those who wear the best costume during the big dip.

12:30 pm to 3 pm (swim takes place at 2 pm. sharp) at Panorama Park in North Vancouver.

Delta’s 38th Annual Polar Bear Swim

Dive into the chilly Pacific with a few hundred other polar bears, and enjoy a few kid-friendly family activities afterward. Prizes awarded to the top three swimmers. The city recommends wearing swim gear that protects from potential ice in the water.

Registration at 12 pm, followed by the swim at 1 pm. at Centennial Beach in Boundary Bay Regional Park (498 Boundary Bay Road in Delta).

White Rock Polar Bear Swim

Dive head first into 2018 while freezing your buns off in the Semiahmoo Bay. Warm up afterward with a hot cocoa and a hug from Mr. Polar Bear himself.

11 am. to 1 pm, with the swim taking place at 12 p.m. Just East of the pier at White Rock Beach.

Port Moody Plunge

Come for a quick doggy paddle in the chilly waters of Burrard Inlet; stay for the entertainment and refreshments.

Registration begins at 12 pm and the plunge begins at 1 p.m. at the Rocky Point Boat Launch in Port Moody

Tips for first timers!

If you’re a first-time polar bear, the City of Vancouver offers a few tips on surviving the plunge.

• If you have heart problems, best to stay on land.
• Keep your children close during the events.
• Leave your fur baby at home.
• Forget the flask; alcohol won’t warm you up. It actually accelerates hypothermia.
• Because more body heat is lost faster in water than on land, head for shore sooner rather than later (15 minutes max).
• Keep your winter coats and clothing on until the swim starts.
• Warm up with a coffee or hot chocolate afterward.

Top image credit: Lisa King, North Shore News.

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