Grab your thickest, warmest beach towel and head up to Elk Lake on Sunday for the 36th annual Polar Bear Swim.
The cool dip in Saanich’s frigid waters is expected to draw hundreds of participants – many of whom are regulars.
“There tends to be a lot of repeat dippers. For them, I don’t think it matters what the weather is like that day,” said Corinne May, promotions co-ordinator for CFAX radio station. “It’s a little bit of a nicer swim if it isn’t raining or too bitterly cold, but I think people decide ahead of time that they’re going to take the plunge.”
Environment Canada is forecasting a clear but cool day on Sunday for the 2 p.m. event.
All swimmers earn a participation ribbon, and one participant will be named the honorary polar bear.
“Staff chooses (who earns that title) based on a number of things like their enthusiasm and how they happen to be dressed. They don’t have to be dressed like a polar bear,” May said.
Festivities – including a dance party warmup courtesy of Body Dynamic Headquarters – begin at 1 p.m. Mr. Tube Steak will also be on site selling food.
Parking is limited at Hamsterly Beach, at the north side of Elk Lake just off the Pat Bay Highway, so show up early if you plan on attending.
And if you do, don’t forget warm clothes, blankets and towels so when you run back onto shore you don’t just stand there shivering, May said.