Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2008
The rain is holding off today - but the weather is still as cold as you can get above freezing. Oh, and personal experience suggests that you don't try pointing out that this is potentially the mildest polar bear swim on the planet... especially from within the confines of one's down vest. This is still a hardened, loony bunch, and many of the same characters have appeared as previous years.
Everyone here has their own story and reason for bracing the elements. For this group this year's theme was hockey on the beach. Maybe an ode to the outdoor game played in Buffalo between the Pengiuns and Sabres earlier today, but defintely a Canadian way to ring in the New Year. They've been coming to English bay since they were in grade 10 together (that's 25 years ago) and now the next generation is joining the game. You may notice their sauna in the background (ok, a plastic tent and a couple of heaters, but anything goes on this day). A few years back the City tried to enforce the "No Structures on the Beach" policy. It seems they gave up, and the tradition has continued. Other familiar faces: vikings, the sombrero gang and various clowns were also on display.
Were you at the English Bay Polar Bear Swim? Add your photos and video here
Got a local Polar Bear Swim or a New Year's Day ritual of your own? Tell us your story.