January 1, 2017 9:21 am
Updated: January 1, 2017 6:35 pm

Polar Bear swim: Canadians across the country gear up for icy plunge

WATCH: Hundreds of participants braved the frigid temperatures of Lake Ontario and took the plunge in the 12th annual Toronto Polar Bear Dip in support for Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area.

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Thousands of Canadians will ring in the new year by dipping into the country’s frigid oceans and lakes today.

The polar bear swims are held annually in a number of communities including Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Charlottetown, and proceeds from donations go to various charities.

WATCH:  Experience a polar bear plunge

Last year’s event drew more than 2,000 participants to Vancouver, which boasts the oldest and largest “Polar Bear Club” in the country, and hundreds more participated in Halifax and cities in Ontario.

WATCH: Annual Polar Bear Dip in Nova Scotia’s Herring Cove

Organizers warn that people with heart conditions should sit the dip out, and kids should stay with adults while they’re in the water.

They also say people should be prepared to get into their warm clothes as soon as they leave the water.

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