Tuesday, June 25, 2024

10 places to polar bear plunge in Greater Victoria to welcome the new year


Have you started setting your New Year’s Resolutions, Victoria?

The holiday decorations are coming down, plans for the new year are rolling out, and it’s time to get excited about all the possibilities!

What better way to start the new year than with an invigorating polar bear dive into the icy cold pacific waters.

For plenty of Victoria residents, this has become a New Year’s Day tradition, and this year will be no exception.

Here’s 10 places in and around Victoria to take an icy dip on Monday, January 1st:

Official Events:

If you need the solidarity and motivation that comes with leaping with a crowd, there are a couple of official polar bear swims happening that you can be a part of.

Join your brave community and cheer together!

Peninsula Celebrations Society

Now’s your chance to join fellow hardy islanders and enjoy an enlivening polar bear swim, hosted by the Peninsula Celebrations Society.

They’re located at the beach access at the end of Beacon Avenue at Glass Beach.

  • Where: Glass Beach, 2533 Beacon Avenue
  • When: Monday, January 1st from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Polar Bear Swim in Victoria

If you’re looking for a solid spot to engage in a polar bear swim with the Victoria community, Karine has spearheaded this wonderful New Year’s event!

Bring your whole family, a bathing suit, your towel, and maybe a warm beverage to warm up afterwards.

Everyone will be meeting at the beach along Dallas Road between the intersection of Memorial Crescent and Eberts Street.

  • Where: Beach along Dallas Road between intersection of Memorial Crescent and Eberts Street
  • When: Monday, January 1st—they’ll be in the water at 12 p.m., so show up a bit early

Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department

If you’re up for a bit of a wee winter road trip, Sooke is hosting a polar bear dip too!

Brave the icy waters with the community and the Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department!

Plus, they’ll have complimentary cups of hot chocolate available for everyone afterward, so you can warm up with family and friends while feeling the polar plunge high!

  • Where: Whiffen Spit Park, Sooke
  • When: Monday, January 1st at 12 p.m. (get there for 11:30 a.m. to register)

Unofficial Events:

If you’d rather gather your family and friends for a polar bear dip without a crowd, there are multiple places in and around Victoria you can do so!

Take on this amazing New Year’s tradition in your own way and on your own time.

Remember to check water advisories before you go!

Cordova Bay Polar Plunge

This is an unofficial, official event—very casual and open to the public!

Join a few other brave souls as they dive into the icy waters at Cordova Bay Beach.

There are a few different places along Cordova Bay Road where people can access the beach, and depending on the tide, some are easier to access than others.

There is an organized group that will be jumping in just eight houses down from the main beach access between 4989 to 4995 Cordova Bay Road. There will be music and balloons to mark their spot!

If people are looking for more of a beach (as the tide will be quite high at the access listed above), people can check out McMorran Park at 5115 Cordova Bay Road or Agate Park at 5179 Agate Lane.

Call organizer Christina Parkhurst at (250) 744-9933 for more information.

  • Where: Cordova Bay Beach—location varies depending on your parking and access preferences
  • When: Monday, January 1st—meeting at 10:30 a.m. and in the water at 11 a.m.

Esquimalt’s Lagoon beach

If you can’t stand the cold, but you want to participate in the tradition, Esquimalt lagoon is the ideal place to pull over, dive into the water and then run right back in your vehicle. 

  • Where: Esquimalt Lagoon, Colwood

Thetis Lake

Considered one of the most visited regional parks in Greater Victoria, Thetis lake is one of the largest regional parks which is home to well over 40 kilometres of recreational trails.

The beach area of Thetis Lake is perfect for a family picnic or a refreshing swim. The main beach features public restrooms and change rooms. A designated dog beach along the north side of the lake is perfect for our four-legged friends. 

Thetis Lake is somewhere worth monitoring, as they’ve had a recent blue-green algae bloom. During a bloom, swimming is discouraged/prohibited.

  • Where: Thetis Lake, View Royal

Durrance Lake

Located in the Mount Work Regional Park area, Durrance Lake is a popular swimming hole in the summer months and a fishing lake throughout the year.

  • Where: Durrance Lake, Mount Work Regional Park

Prospect Lake

Much of the lakeside property has been claimed by private residences but there are four public access points to the lake which include: Whitehead ParkEstelline ParkSouth Prospect Lake ParkEcho Place Boat Launch

  • Where: Prospect Lake, Saanich

Eagles Lake 

Eagles Lake is a secluded little swimming hole located off Woodridge Place Road and is a popular cooling off spot for Highlands locals.

  • Where: Eagles Lake, Woodridge Place

Elk Lake

If you’ve driven between Victoria and the ferries, you’re familiar with Elk Lake. It lays just to the west of the Patricia Bay Highway and is often one of the first impressions visitors from the mainland receive when visiting the island for the first time.

Elk Lake is somewhere worth monitoring, as they’ve had a recent blue-green algae bloom. During a bloom, swimming is discouraged/prohibited.

  • Where: Elk Lake, Patricia Bay Highway 17 in Saanich

Do you know of another polar bear swim happening in your area? Send us an email to tips@victoriabuzz.com to be included on our list!

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