Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

By Jill Glover

January 1, 2014 at 7:00 AM

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The 2014 Polar Bear Swim – New Year’s Day at English Bay

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Polar Bear Swim, 2011 (by Michael Kalus)

Polar Bear Swim, 2011. Photo by Michael Kalus

Curglaff. The shock felt in bathing when one first plunges into cold water.

(This public space ‘word of the day’ comes courtesy of John Jamiesons’s Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808. As reported in Jeffrey Kacirk’s Forgotten English.)

Happy New Year everyone! Looking to get things started with a splash of excitement? Why not start 2014 with one of Vancouver’s most bracing public space events.

The 94th annual Polar Bear swim takes place at English Bay today, January 1st. Registration (if you want to get your name on the official docket) opens at 12:30, and the event itself takes place at 2:30. Last year more than two thousand folks signed up for a chilly, collegial dunk in the Pacific Ocean.

For those that want more than just a quick plunge, there’s the Peter Pantages Memorial 100-Yard Swim Race – named for the fellow that started the Vancouver tradition in 1920. The first three first three swimmers to complete the race and reach the marker buoy will receive trophies.

If you’re thinking of participating, the Park Board offers the following tips for participants:

  • Bring supplies to stay warm – a towel, blanket, change of clothes, and warm outerwear
  • Know your limits in the cold water.
  • Avoid diving into the water.
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Keep your dogs at home.

For more information, you check out the Park Board website.

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