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Polar Bear Swim

Leaping into icy water in the middle of winter may not be everyone's idea of fun, but the annual Polar Bear race has been running for nearly 90 years in Vancouver. Every New Year's Day, thousands flock to English Bay to take the plunge and celebrate the beginning of the year, led by the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club (one of the oldest and biggest of its kind in the world). Outrageous costumes are the order of the day and many come to participate in the Peter Pantages 100 yard (90m) race, named in honour of the founder of the club in 1920. Participants must register before the event at the English Bay bathhouse on New Year's Day and receive a commemorative badge after the swim. Registration and participation in the event is free, and for those not brave enough, a good spot on the beach with a mug of hot chocolate is the perfect (and warmest) way to view the goings-on.

Venue: English Bay beach

Date: 1 January annually