KICK start 2014 on a cold note with a dip in English Bay at the annual Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day!

Join thousands of hardy ‘Polar Bears’ for this free community event at 2:30 p.m. on January 1.

Swimmers have been starting the New Year by plunging into the chilly waters of English Bay since 1920 when the Polar Bear Swim was started by Peter Pantages. The swim, which is hosted by the Vancouver Park Board, has remained largely unchanged over the years. Wear a costume, compete in the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race, or just come out to watch and enjoy the fun.

Water temperature has been recorded as low as 3 degrees Celsius (38 degrees Fahrenheit).

“The Polar Bear Swim is a great Vancouver tradition and has been part of many people’s holiday to-do lists,” said Park Board Chair Niki Sharma. “If you are joining us, please help make a difference by bringing a non-perishable food item or cash donation for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.”

The Cactus Club Café at English Bay will be giving out free coffee, tea and hot chocolate with a donation to the Food Bank.

Polar Bear Swim tips:

* Registration is free and begins at 12:30 pm at the English Bay Bathhouse

* Limited edition commemorative t-shirts will be on sale

* First three swimmers to reach the marker buoy in the 100 yard race will receive trophies

* Commemorative Polar Bear Swim Club buttons will be available to bathers after the swim (limited quantity)

* Be Water Smart – know your limits, avoid diving into the water

* Swimmers should have supplies to stay warm: a towel, blanket, change of clothes, and warm outerwear

* Children must be accompanied by an adult

* Dog owners are asked to leave their pets at home

More information about the Polar Bear Swim can be found at