Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2020

Travel & Outdoors
Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2020

If you’ve thought of joining the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim, this is the year to take the plunge, as it celebrates a big birthday.

The annual New Year’s Day event is turning 100 this year and it’ll once again be at English Bay.

This will be the largest Polar Bear event ever, as the city prepares to blow it out of the water. (See what we did there?)

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 20209

Photo: Samir D Photography / Facebook

Festivities will began at about noon on Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 and there will be live music, performers and food trucks. Swimmers dive in at 2:30 pm.

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The Origin Story

It all began in 1920, when Peter Pantages and nine other swimmers decided to dive headfirst into the new year.

The 10 swimmers waded into the chilly waters of English Bay, and named themselves the Vancouver Polar Bear Club.

The plunge has continued since then, by the 10 swimmers and then thousands more. Pantages’ granddaughter Lisa Pantages will be doing her 58th polar bear swim this year.

It’s a family tradition that has so far lasted three generations. Pantages will join the 2,000-4,000 other expected participants.

The event usually draws in a crowd of up to 9,000 people. There will be 17 lifeguards onsite in rowboats, paddle boards, elevated chairs and in the First Aid area.

Anyone is welcome to join, but remember to register online to get your commemorative certificate.

For more great events to attend in Vancouver, check out our Events section!

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2020

Location: English Bay

Admission: Free

Time: 2:30 pm

Date: Wednesday January 1st, 2020

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