Polar Bear swim in Sidney (Beth Rand‎ Photography)

There’s no better, more invigorating way to start 2020 fresh than with an icy polar bear swim!

Here are 5 New Year’s Day polar bear swims happening on Vancouver Island:

Polar Bear Swim 

The Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department hosts their annual Polar Bear Swim at Whiffin Spit. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. with a cannon start at noon!

  • When: Wednesday, January 1st, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Where: Whiffin Spit, Sooke

Esquimalt Polar Bear Swim

The second annual Esquimalt Polar Bear Swim offers the chance to “symbolically wash away 2019 and dive into 2020 refreshed,”.

This year’s event includes a ceremonial first dive, a traditional “Welcome” by the Songhees Nation and two contests for Best Costume and for First In / Fully Submerged.

Attendees are asked to bring a suggested donation of $5, but interested parties can pay $30 for a commemorative t-shirt, a gear check, and a seat underneath the outdoor heaters.

  • When: Wednesday, January 1st, 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Esquimalt Lagoon, Colwood

Sidney Annual Polar Bear Swim

A Sidney annual favourite! Participants can access Glass Beach via the beach access at the end of Beacon Avenue. Participation is by donation.

  • When: Wednesday, January 1st, 12:00 p.m.
  • Where: Glass Beach, Sidney

Polar Bear Splash

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue and Parksville Fire Department host the annual Polar Bear Splash at Parksville Beach. Sign in onsite at 11:30 a.m. for a chance to win a prize at this free event.

  • When: Wednesday,January 1st, 12:00 p.m.
  • Where: Parksville & Qualicum Beach

Polar Bear Swim

Immerse yourself in the chilly waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait with this long time Metchosin tradition.

At 1:00 p.m, participants warm up for the swim with a six-kilometre run and a three-kilometre walk. This warm up will bring participants to Taylor Beach just in time for their icy swim.

  • When: Wednesday, January 1st. Warm up begins at 1:00 p.m, swim at 2:00 p.m.
  • Where: Taylor Beach, Metchosin

Annual Polar Bear Swim

Gorge Swim Fest is hosting their annual Polar Bear Swim at the Gorge Waterway in Saanich.

Present yourself at Banfield Dock by noon for a freezing good time!

  • When: Wednesday, January 1st, 12 p.m.
  • Where: Banfield Dock, Gorge Waterway, 521 Craigflower Road