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These Vancouverites kicked off 2021 with a virtual polar bear swim

Rather than running into English Bay, these cold-water enthusiasts took the chilly tradition to their bathtubs and backyards.
vancouver park board virtual polar bear swim
Though Vancouver's annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some locals got creative and found some alternative ways to kick off 2021 with a chilly dip.
Even being one of the world's biggest and oldest Polar Bear Swims wasn't enough to stop Vancouver's annual New Year's Day tradition from being cancelled this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that cancellation wasn't enough stop a few die-hard locals from kicking off 2021 with an ice-cold dip on Jan. 1. 

Instead of bolting into the frigid waters of English Bay, these participants brought the tradition home. In December, event organizers from the Vancouver Park Board encouraged Polar Bear Swim-enthusiasts to take a dip in a bathtub or kiddie pool on New Year's Day, instead—and, if they were brave enough, to adjust the temperature of their preferred body of water  to 7°C  (or 44.6 °F) the average water temperature of previous Polar Bear Swims. 

Participants who registered for the event and submitted a photo or video to will receive a commemorative certificate, as well as a commemorative button. Though swimmers have have until Jan. 11 to submit their photos or videos and request a souvenir, the Park Board decided to post a few of its staff's favourite submissions to Twitter this week. 

From bathtubs to swimming pools to buckets, they're too good not to share. Check out the video below: 

If you're looking for more than a button to prove your commitment to this tradition, 2021 Polar Bear Swim merchandise, such as face masks, t-shirts, and toques, is still available for purchase online, too. 

- With files from Lindsay William-Ross


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