Polar Bear swim in Sidney (Beth Rand‎ Photography)

Whether you’re in and out in ten seconds flat or you’re so tough that the ice-cold Pacific feels like bathwater, polar bear swims are a beloved staple of New Year’s Day.

Here are five swims happening on Vancouver Island:

Polar Bear Swim

This annual swim is hosted by the Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department.

  • When: Tuesday, January 1st, 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Whiffin Spit, Sooke

Esquimalt Polar Bear Swim

This newly created annual event will have prizes, including one for the first person in the water.

Registration requires a $5 ticket, the proceeds of which will go to KidSport Greater Victoria. Or you can buy a $30 ticket and receive a commemorative shirt, hot drinks, and access to heated shelters.

  • When: Tuesday, January 1st, 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Esquimalt Lagoon, 2903 Ocean Blvd

Sidney Annual Polar Bear Swim 

Another yearly favourite—find it via the beach access at the end of Beacon Avenue.

  • When: Tuesday, January 1st, 12 p.m.
  • Where: Glass Beach, Sidney

Polar Bear Splash

They’ll have hot chocolate to warm you up right after!

  • When: Tuesday, January 1st, 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Parksville Beach

Polar Bear Swim

This swim is organized by the Salmon Point Restaurant and Bar.

  • When: Tuesday, January 1st, 12 p.m.
  • Where: Saratoga Beach Resort, 2158 Salmon Point Rd, Campbell River

BONUS

Just can’t wait another whole year to submerge yourself in icy cold ocean water? Check out this February Polar Bear swim:

Special Olympics Vancouver Island Polar Plunge

You can participate by raising $75 (or $50 if you’re a student) to support Special Olympics BC, which also makes you eligible for commemorative swag and prizes.

  • When: Sunday, February 17th, 10 a.m. check-in
  • Where: Willows Beach, Oak Bay

 

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