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Polar bear swims are back in Greater Victoria – here’s what you need to know

Find events at Esquimalt Lagoon, Sidneys Glass Beach, and more

Greater Victoria is home to several polar bear swims – a special winter tradition where friends and family jump in the icy cold ocean while sharing in the pain and thrill of being immersed in frigid pacific waters.

While many of these group events had to take a hiatus last year due to the pandemic, some groups are back at it this year.

Mile 0 on Dec. 21

A group of cold-water lovers called Oddballs is hosting a dip in Victoria a few days before Christmas on Dec. 21 at 9 a.m.

The cove they frequent is located across from Beacon Hill Park near Mile 0 – meeting at the parking lot directly across from the flagpole. This year they aim to bring 100 people together for a winter solstice swim.

Event organizer, Nathaniel Boyce, said it’s difficult to explain the aliveness that comes from being beneath the surface to those who have not made the plunge.

“This event could not have happened without the other Mile Zero Minnows, and anyone else who took the time not only to get themselves down here but to share it with friends. I’m mostly the online face of this event. It would not have become what it did without the other bigger minnows,” said Boyce.

Join the Oddballs Facebook group to find a small group near you who dip together year-round – such as the Mile Zero Minnows.

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria chill-seekers take personal polar plunge to welcome 2021 safely

Esquimalt Lagoon on New Year’s Day

Smart Dolphins IT Solutions is hosting an 11 a.m. New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim at Esquimalt Lagoon for the Victoria Women’s Transition House.

This is the fifth annual event, and the fourth time taking place at the south end of Esquimalt Lagoon.

Prizes are available at Esquimalt Lagoon for best costumes and first person fully immersed in the water, among other draw prizes. A minimum $5 donation is required to participate.

For more information visit

Clover Point on New Year’s Day

Separately, Victoria’s 5th Annual Victoria Narwhal Freedive at Clover Point is happening on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m. The event is for novice and experienced freedivers alike, and hosted by Victoria diver and photographer, Mark Cantwell.

Search the event on Facebook for further details.

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