Dozens jump into Halifax harbour for free urban swim
One of the last things you might expect to see while wandering along the Halifax boardwalk is people swimming in the city’s harbour.
However, on Sunday afternoon, dozens of people dived into the Atlantic.
“I went for a nice swim, I was cooled off. They had floaties here, which was really fun, so I got to float on a pizza slice all around the harbour,” said Dee Osmond, one of the swim participants.
The Big Jump free urban swimming event was organized by a woman who’s spent years advocating for the right to swim in the Halifax harbour.
“When I started asking … why people don’t swim in the harbour, what they told me is because it’s dirty. I came down and looked at it, and the stories they were telling me about the water being murky weren’t really adding up with what I was seeing so I started digging deeper,” said Anika Riopel.
Riopel wasn’t convinced the harbour was unsafe to swim in so she began doing extensive research on her own.
“I was reading reports, research, stats about the water quality, and what I saw was there was a huge mismatch between the perception people have of the harbour and the reality of the harbour,” she said.
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Several years later, Riopel saw her dream of hosting a free urban swim come true.
Partnering with Halifax Water, which conducted water testing before and after the swim, Riopel’s event opened the boardwalk to the public as an access point for swimming.
The Big Jump organizer’s dream is to bring urban swimming to the downtown waterfront permanently.
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