With just hours to go before the start of the last month of the year a group of about 60 participants took a dip in the chilly water at Point Pleasant Park in support of youth mental health.
The event, known as Brain Freeze, has been held elsewhere in the country in the past but made its first official appearance in Halifax, giving participants all the reason they needed to feel what a dunk in the Atlantic is like as the winter fast approaches.
“It’s a little different than what people are used to,” said Clayton Murphy, who acts as the Nova Scotia representative for Jack.org, the organization behind the event.
“It’s exciting, it’s invigorating, it gets the blood flowing. People are willing to come out in -3 degree weather and jump in cold water to talk about mental health and I think it’s that sort of energy that we need going into these conversations.”
For its inaugural showing in Halifax, the organization’s director of development said he jumped at the opportunity to take part firsthand.
Brock Warner calls Toronto home but made his way east to dip himself in the cold water that funnels out to the Atlantic ocean.
He said it was an entirely new experience to the semi polar bear swim pro.
“I got a little in my mouth, tasted that salt and realized, ‘oh yeah this is the ocean — it’s not a Great Lake'” he said after drying off. “It was a surprise to me.”
Having experienced these events in the past he’s not surprised though by the reactions of those who brave the cold and dive right in, as people love the thrill of doing something they wouldn’t normally do for a worthy and necessary cause.
“If this is what it takes to raise some money for youth mental health, something that we really badly need in this country,” he said. “Then it’s worth it.”
Organizers in Halifax reported that $10,300 was their final tally for the day, with an estimated $150,000 raised country-wide.