Thousands expected at 99th annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim in English Bay

One of Vancouver’s oldest and most venerable traditions is set to take place New Year’s Day on the shores of English Bay.

The 99th edition of the Polar Bear Swim is expected to attract thousands of brave people ready to usher in the new year with a chilly dip.

Several similar events are taking place across the province.

This year’s White Rock Polar Bear Swim has been cancelled due to the damage along the beach from the recent windstorm. Organizers of the White Rock swim plan to return next year for the event’s 50th anniversary.

Vancouver’s Polar Bear Swim is one of the oldest in the world. The inaugural swim took place in 1920, when nine swimmers joined founder Peter Pantages for a dip in English Bay.

Last year, a cold snap across much of the country led to the cancellation of Polar Bear Swims across Canada, but the relatively mild weather in Vancouver drew more than 1,700 swimmers to English Bay for a quick dip in 6 C waters.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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