Victorians can take the plunge into icy cold water for the Polar Bear Swim on Jan. 1, 2020 in Colwood, Sooke, Saanich, Sidney, and Metchosin. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victorians can take the plunge into icy cold water for the Polar Bear Swim on Jan. 1, 2020 in Colwood, Sooke, Saanich, Sidney, and Metchosin. (Black Press Media file photo)

5 places where you can do a polar bear swim in Greater Victoria

‘It’s got me hooked for life,” says Metchosin man who’s done it 47 years in a row

It’s an experience that’s exhilarating with the slightest amount of insanity – at least that’s what Andy Mackinnon believes.

The Metchosin man has been doing polar bear swims on the 1st of January for the past 47 years. The first time the 63-year-old jumped into icy cold waters was at the age of 16.

“If there’s one thing for certain, nothing worse will happen to you in 2020,” Mackinnon joked.

“Having a group of swimmers out there encourages people to do the silly task of running into the ocean together. It’s an awful lot of fun and it’s got me hooked for life.”

ALSO READ: Sooke’s polar bear swim a shiveringly good time

READ MORE: Annual New Year’s Day tradition sees Metchosin swimmers grin and bear it

Mackinnon will be at the Metchosin Polar Bear Swim at Taylor Beach, 1052 Taylor Rd, at 2 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2020.

Last year, a group of nearly 60 people came to take a dip themselves. Before the swim, there will be a Polar Bear 6 km run and 3 km walk at 12:45 p.m. Warm drinks and snacks will be shared after the swim at a nearby residence. For more info, contact Andy at 250-889-6453 or metchosinmacs@gmail.com.

Metchosin is only one of five places hosting a Polar Bear Swim in Greater Victoria.

In Colwood,Smart Dolphins IT Solutions and Athletics Illustrated suggest donating $5 for the swim, with all proceeds going towards Victoria Women’s Transition House. If you donate $30, you get a commemorative shirt, unlimited chocolate, and a reservation under the portable heaters.

In Sidney, the Peninsula Celebrations Society will be hosting their event at Glass Beach near the end of Beacon Avenue at 12 p.m. to take the plunge.

In Victoria, the Swim-A-Month Club has planned to be at the dock in Banfield Park, 521 Craigflower Rd, at 12 p.m. for a cold dip. More info can be found on the Facebook page, Gorge Swim Fest.

In Sooke, the Otter Point Volunteer Fire Department will be at Whiffen Spit Park at 12 p.m for the chilly swim. As always, some participants are expected to dress up in outrageous costumes when they enter the water. Hot chocolate will be provided to warm the crowds.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

The Saanich Fire Department Station #2 C-Battalion members (left to right) firefighter Clayton Tilon, firefighter Bonnie Fiala, firefighter Zay Hamilton, Capt. Dawrin Schellenberg and firefighter Charlie Rivers show off their BC Emergency Health Servicecs Vital Link Award. (Photo courtesy Darwin Schellenberg)
Saanich firefighters receive Vital Link Award from paramedics for life-saving CPR

Award issued to C-Battalion, civilian for help saving cardiac arrest patient in June

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read