2020-12-20: The Jan 1, 2021 Polar Bear swim has been cancelled due to the Covid restrictions.
The Polar Bear swim is free annual event that takes place every year on January 1 at 2:30pm at English Bay in Vancouver, B.C, Canada. Thousands of people go for a short swim in the Pacific Ocean to celebrate the New Year. This has been a Vancouver tradition since 1920! It is really a big party carry-over from New Years Eve's party. Many people dress up in costumes for the swim. It is a really fun event! Thousands of people come out to watch and support the swimmer, so you don't even have to swim!
2020 is the 100th annual Polar Bear swim in English Bay! It is expected to be the largest in years! There will be musical entertainment, food trucks, and more!
It is requested that people register for the swim so that the officials can get a somewhat accurate account of the number of swimmers that are taking place in the swim. Registration is from 12:30pm to 2:30pm in front of the English Bay Bath House. This event is free so there is no fee!
If you register you are eligible for a chance to win a 1-month Flexipass and a limited edition Polar Bear swim prize pack! You will also get a commemorative certificate which will be emailed to you after the event.
The water is usually chilly, so swimming is not for everyone!
There is a 100 yard swim race where the first 3 finishers receive a trophy. This is called the Peter Pantage Memorial 100-yard Swim Race in memory of the founder of this event (see plaque below).
There is a plaque related to the Polar Bear Swim on the English Bay Bath House.
The plaque says:
City of Vancouver
Polar Bear Club
When Peter Pantages arrived in Vancouver in 1917 he started the practice of taking a daily ocean swim. In 1920 he founded the Polar Bear Club and inaugurated its now famous New Year's Day swim at English Bay. He served as president until his final dip in 1971.
The Polar Bear swim takes place on English Bay Beach in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
The Polar Bear swim takes place annually on January 1 at 2:30pm. Registration starts at 12pm.
There isn't much parking available right at English Bay Beach but there is parking nearby. There is some parking lots on Beach Avenue near Sunset Beach. There are a few parking lots on Denman Street. Additionally, there are a number of parking lots in Stanley Park. More info about Parking in Stanley Park: Parking in Stanley Park. Better yet, take a bus to Denman and Davie streets and you are right there!
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