Some of us were hung over. Others were busy having brunch. Or maybe, some people kept the party going well into the next day (you know who you are). However nearly 2,000 clinically insane people braved the frigid waters of English Bay for the annual Polar Bear Swim.
The New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim originated in Vancouver with the inaugural plunge taking place in 1920, coordinated by Founder and President Peter Pantages. In those days, you had to register to become a member of the Polar Bear Swim Club, which started out with only 10 members. The Sylvia Hotel housed the club’s headquarters until popularity around the event grew, forcing the club to move to the Vancouver Swimming Club just west of the English Bay pier.
Today the event attracts thousands of participants and spectators, spilling onto the beach in complete pandemonium, some decked out in costume, others simply rocking a speedo or a bikini. Youch.
Over the years the Polar Bear Swim has been covered by major media giants like CNN and National Geographic Traveler as well as countless other media outlets around the world. This year, the team at Jonathan Cruz Photography made their way to English Bay armed with a crew of nutball participants that took the plunge while we captured the chaos. Check out our YouTube vid below: