Cold, what cold?

Cana­di­ans go for frosty New Year’s Day swim in an­nual polar bear plunges

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Cana­di­ans across the coun­try are par­tic­i­pat­ing in a frosty New Year’s Day tra­di­tion — the polar bear dip.

Ten peo­ple braved freez­ing tem­per­a­tures to leap off a snow­cov­ered wharf into the frigid At­lantic in Por­tu­gal Cove, N.L.

In Nova Sco­tia, more than 130 peo­ple — some in colour­ful cos­tumes — gath­ered to leap from a wharf un­der the watch­ful eye of mem­bers of the lo­cal fire depart­ment for the 22nd an­nual polar bear dip in Her­ring Cove.

Peo­ple donned tu­tus and one­sies as they plunged from the wharf in the small com­mu­nity just out­side Hal­i­fax, where tem­per­a­tures were hov­er­ing around -1 C on Fri­day.

Eighty-one-year-old Ernie Ross was first into the wa­ter, wear­ing salmon-coloured swim­ming trunks with the phrase “Happy 2016” writ­ten across his chest in black marker.

Or­ga­niz­ers es­ti­mate 250 swim­mers — one wear­ing a lab coat and rid­ing a boo­gie board — en­tered the wa­ter dur­ing a polar bear dip at Bri­tan­nia Beach in Ot­tawa, as cross-coun­try skiers made their way through a nearby park.

Snow flurries didn’t de­ter sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple from turn­ing out at a Toronto beach to run en masse into Lake On­tario in the 11th an­nual Toronto Polar Bear Dip.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the 31st an­nual Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, Ont., say they are hop­ing nearly 1,000 peo­ple will take the plunge into Lake On­tario on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

The old­est Polar Bear Club in the coun­try was founded in 1920 in Van­cou­ver, and since then the tra­di­tion has spread. Van­cou­ver’s club is still the largest, with more than 2,500 en­tries in 2014.

CP PHOTO

Chris Bragg (left) from St. Philip’s and Damien Drover from Mount Pearl brave the chilly tem­per­a­tures on Fri­day and take their an­nual leap off of the wharf at Por­tu­gal Cove-St. Philip’s, New­found­land and Labrador and into the North At­lantic Ocean.

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