Plunging into 2017

Here’s a look at English Bay on a cold, but sunny winter day.


We’ve had plenty of those lately, but that wasn’t the case on New Year’s Day. Nonethless, we continued our tradition of traipsing down to English Bay to take part in the annual Polar Bear Swim. To compound matters, there was actually a light layer of snow on the beach.


The land temperature was 2 degrees Celsius (35 F), and it was a balmy 7 degrees Celsius (not quite 45 F) in the waters of English Bay. I dressed in plenty of layers, while others … well, you can see me here with a reindeer, a polar bear and a small colony of friendly penguins pre-dip.

No. We didn’t know each other, but people who are willing to hang around in these cold temperatures for the privilege of racing into the water aren’t likely to be awfully reserved.


Take these faux sumo wrestlers, for example.

Watching the Brave - 2017 Polar Bear Swim Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

This year marked the 97th annual Polar Bear Swim at English Bay, and you can count on crowds waiting to watch the zany, costumed or not.

2017 Polar Bear Swim Vikings Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

Some of the onlookers get in on the fun by posing for photos with Vikings …


…or providing moral support and having dry clothes at the ready.

Changing Post-Polar Bear Dip Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

This is not an endurance event! Post-dip, people scramble out of the water and back on the sand for a quick, communal change back to dry clothes.


I think this may have been our coldest Polar Bear swim of the past five years, but this is a New Year’s tradition I’m glad to maintain.

Shelagh's 2017 Polar Bear Pin Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

After all, look at the great badge collection I’m building!


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