Polar bear plunge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Participants in the water during a polar bear plunge. Note the ice on the water.

A polar bear plunge is an event held during the winter where participants enter a body of water despite the low temperature. In the United States, polar bear plunges are usually held to raise money for a charitable organization. In Canada, polar bear swims are usually held on New Year's Day to celebrate the new year.


In Canada, "Polar Bear Swims", "plunges" or "dips" are a New Year's Day tradition in numerous communities across the country.[1][2][3] Vancouver, BC's annual Polar Bear Swim Club has been active since 1920 and typically has 1,000 to 2,000 registered participants, with a record 2,128 plunging into English Bay in 2000. Registration is not enforced and the actual number of swimmers may be significantly higher. Estimates of the number of observers are typically up to 10,000.[4] Suburban White Rock, BC's was founded in 1958, and other suburbs including Port Moody and North Vancouver also hold swims.[5]

Other locations include Bowen Island, BC,[6] Edmonton, AB,[citation needed] Calgary, AB,[citation needed] Ottawa, ON,[citation needed] Oakville, ON,[7] Toronto, ON,[8] Perth, ON,[9] Clarington, ON,[10] Sarnia, ON,[11] Montreal, QC,[citation needed] North Hatley, QC,[citation needed] Halifax, NS,[citation needed] Prince Edward Island,[citation needed], Ness Lake north of Prince George, BC and St. John's, NL.[citation needed] In Yellowknife, NWT, the "Freezin for a Reason" plunge is held in March after the spring thaw.[citation needed]


The Nieuwjaarsduik in Scheveningen (2010)

Every New Year's Day around 10,000 people dive collectively into the icy cold sea water at Scheveningen, a Dutch beach resort town, since 1960. In 89 locations on beaches and in lakes all over the country, each year around 30,000 people participate in this "Nieuwjaarsduik" (English: New Year's dive), with a record 36,000 participants on January 1, 2012. Since 1998, Unox, a Unilever food brand often associated with winter, adopted the Nieuwjaarsduik and ever since it is tradition to wear Unox branded winter caps and gloves.[12][13]

United Kingdom[edit]

An annual "Loony Dook" takes place in South Queensferry, Scotland, on New Year's Day. Several thousand attend the event with over one thousand taking the plunge.[14] Participants regularly dress up for the occasion and will usually parade through the local town acting like "loonies" proceeding the "dook". Aside from the regular enthusiasts, most are still inebriated from New Year's Eve celebrations and have more than likely lost a bet.

Another, smaller plunge occurs on Christmas Day at Blackroot Pool in Sutton Park, Birmingham, England.[15] Often, participants aim to raise money for charity.

United States[edit]

Two women prepare to enter the water in Milwaukee.

Plunges are now held across the United States. Annual events are held in Seattle (since 1993), Evergreen, Colorado [16] New York's Coney Island Polar Bear Club,[2][17] Lake George, NY,[18] Boston (since 1904),[19] Milwaukee's Bradford Beach (since 1916),[20] New Hampshire,[21] and New Jersey.[22] Some, such as Minnesota's,[23] are held to raise proceeds for the Special Olympics. Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College also organizes an annual "Polar Plunge for Health Equity" into Occom Pond.[21]

The Plungapalooza event in Maryland, the largest polar bear plunge in the United States, held annually at Sandy Point State Park, raises funds for the Special Olympics.[24] Sponsored by the Maryland State Police, in 2007, Plungapalooza raised $2.2 million and had 7,400 participants.[25] In 2008, an estimated 12,000 people participated.[24]

Every Super Bowl Sunday, Long Beach, New York hosts one of the largest in the US. Since 1998 thousands of people have flocked to the beaches of Long Beach to jump into the ocean on Super Bowl Sunday. All proceeds are donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20100105033902/http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/01/01/canada-polar-bear-dip-new-year.html?. Archived from the original on January 5, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Canadian polar bear dippers brave freezing temperatures". January 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Polar bear dips: deep freeze doesn't dissuade swimmers". January 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ City of Vancouver. "Home - City of Vancouver". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/peacearchnews/lifestyles/112344189.html?mobile=true
  6. ^ http://bowen-island-bc.com/forum/read.php?1,1290016
  7. ^ "Courage Polar Bear Dip". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Annual Toronto Polar Bear Dip - In support of Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Perth Polar Bear Plunge - Official Home Page". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Clarington Polar Bear Swim". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ "'Freezin' for a reason'". Sarnia Observer. Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  12. ^ http://www.unox.nl/nl/event/nieuwjaarsduik/info_url
  13. ^ "Nieuwjaarsduik bijzonder populair dit jaar". telegraaf.nl. 
  14. ^ "Default Parallels Plesk Panel Page". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Sutton Park Christmas Day swim: Watch brave Brummies plunge into Blackroot Pool". Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Seattle Parks and Recreation - Polar Bear Plunge". seattle.gov. Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ http://www.polarbearclub.org/
  18. ^ http://www.lakegeorgewintercarnival.com/
  19. ^ "Boston Event Calendar January 2010". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Jim Stingl - Polar plunging boasts long, chilly history in Milwaukee". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Students Take Icy Plunge in 19th Annual Polar Bear Swim | Dartmouth Now". now.dartmouth.edu. Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Special Olympics New Jersey - Polar Bear Plunge". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Polar Plunge Presented by Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Minnesota". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Abrams, Amanda (February 3, 2009). "Cold Enough For You?". Express. The Washington Post. pp. E7. 
  25. ^ http://www.plungemd.com/about_us.shtml
  26. ^ "Long Beach Polar Bears - Welcome". Retrieved December 26, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]