The Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club is one of the largest and oldest Polar Bear Clubs in the world. Its initial swim was in 1920 when a small number of hardy swimmers took the plunge into English Bay on New Year’s Day. Led by their founder, Peter Pantages, the swim has grown from around 10 swimmers in that year to the new record of 2,246 official entries set in 2011.
The swim generally takes place at 2:30pm on the first day of each new year. Costumes and the Peter Pantages Memorial 100 yard swim race are the highlights of this event.
To be a club member you must register before the swim — it’s free. Prizes are drawn from all registrations. Register in front of the English Bay Bathhouse between 12:30pm and 2:30pm on January 1. You can also clip out the coupon in the Province newspaper and bring it to the registration table
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting donations of non-perishable food or cash.
- If you have a heart problem – just watch!
- Children must swim and stay with an adult
- Please leave your dog at home
- Do not drink – alcohol does not warm you up – it accelerates hypothermia.
- Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
- Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren.
- Entrants in the 100 yard race – meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
- First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat – give your names to the lifeguard.
- After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table.
- Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.
2013 Vancouver Polar Bear Swim
Date: January 1, 2013
Time: 12:30pm – 2:30pm
Location: English Bay Bathhouse – 1700 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6E 1V3