January 1, 2018 3:20 pm
Updated: January 1, 2018 3:41 pm

Polar bear dips: Canada’s bravest ring in the new year with an icy swim

'Polar Bear' swimmers take part in the L Street Brownies New Year's Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. . 'Polar Bear' swimmers take part in the L Street Brownies New Year's Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. .

EPA/CJ GUNTHER
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While two annual New Year’s Day polar bear swims were cancelled due to extreme cold, nothing could keep swimmers in Halifax out of the frigid Atlantic Ocean — not even a layer of ice.

The annual polar bear dips see individuals ring in the new year by running or jumping into lakes and oceans, usually to raise money for charity. The events can draw hundreds of participants and up to thousands of spectators.

Organizers of the Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, Ont., announced on New Year’s Day that they were calling off the event due to “unsafe” ice and rock shifting.

Toronto’s event was cancelled the previous day. Meanwhile, the event on the East Coast started a little late because a boat needed to break up the ice in Herring Cove, where the air was a chilly -19 C with the wind chill.

Several other events are going ahead around the world as well, including one in Edinburgh, Scotland, Coney Island in New York, Flagstaff, Ariz., Boston, Mass., Boulder, Colo., Excelsior, Min., and at the Tennessee River in Alabama.

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

In spite of extreme cold warnings issued by Environment Canada that cover much of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and southern Quebec, many events were scheduled to go ahead.

Swimmers in the eastern Ontario town of Perth, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria will take the plunge later in the day.

 

‘Polar Bear’ swimmers take part in the L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. EPA/CJ GUNTHER

A man splashes in the ocean during the annual New Year’s Day L Street Brownies Polar Bear Plunge, with the air temperatures at zero degrees Fahrenheit, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

A woman reacts after going into the ocean during the annual New Year’s Day L Street Brownies Polar Bear Plunge, with the air temperatures at zero degrees Fahrenheit, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Participants run into the ocean during the annual New Year’s Day L Street Brownies Polar Bear Plunge, with the air temperatures at zero degrees Fahrenheit, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Two women react while taking part in the annual New Year’s Day L Street Brownies Polar Bear Plunge, with the air temperatures at zero degrees Fahrenheit, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Steam rises off swimmers after they went into the ocean during the annual New Year’s Day L Street Brownies Polar Bear Plunge, with the air temperatures at zero degrees Fahrenheit, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Men reacts after going into the ocean during the annual New Year’s Day L Street Brownies Polar Bear Plunge, with the air temperatures at zero degrees Fahrenheit, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

‘Polar Bear’ swimmers march out of the L Street Bath house as they prepare to take part in the L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. EPA/CJ GUNTHER

A ‘Polar Bear’ swimmer displays the temperature written on his chest before taking part in the L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. EPA/CJ GUNTHER

‘Polar Bear’ swimmers take part in the L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. EPA/CJ GUNTHER

‘Polar Bear’ swimmers take part in the L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. EPA/CJ GUNTHER

‘Polar Bear’ swimmers take part in the L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. . EPA/CJ GUNTHER

‘Polar Bear’ swimmers take part in the L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim in Dorchester Bay in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 01 January 2018. . EPA/CJ GUNTHER

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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