Swim like a polar bear on New Year’s Day

The new year is almost upon us and with that, so is the annual polar bear swim.

City of Port Alberni recreation programmer Karen Freethy pushes 93.3 The Peak Polar Bear Swim organizer John Douglas into the frigid waters at Canal Beach in preparation for the third annual polar bear swim on Jan. 1

The new year is almost upon us and with that, so is the annual polar bear swim.

“This is our third annual polar bear swim at Canal Beach,” said John Douglas, who is helping to organized the 93.3 The Peak-hosted event. Peak will be on-location to get everyone pumped up for the event.

“We’re trying to celebrate the little bit of waterfront access that we do have for the public.”

Polar bear swims are a tradition all around the world, with brave swimmers plunging into the cold, frigid waters on New Year’s Day. Port Alberni’s will start at noon sharp on Jan. 1.

“We come here and we welcome in the New Year. It’s a wonderful event and it’s great for the community.”

For those going all out, city of Port Alberni recreation programmer Karen Freethy said that there will be prizes.

“There’s three awards; the most senior swimmer, the best costume and the best team.”

As a co-sponsor, city is also throwing in free facility passes with some of the prizes, Freethy added.

If you just want to jump in and run out, you still get a reward.

“You get a medal that you can wear for the rest of your life.”

Slammers Gym will be on-site to get swimmers ready and warmed up before the swim and a heated changing area will be available to warm up the swimmers after the swim.

Even if you don’t want to jump into the frigid waters of the Alberni Inlet, Douglas says that there’s plenty to see and do.

Three Dogs Snack and Surf will be at the beach offering paddleboard demos for anyone who would prefer to stay on top of the water rather than in it.

The Centennial Belles will be at the beach promoting their Jane Austen Festival.

“They’re going to come down in their centennial gear and dip their toes in the water.”

The Kiwanis food truck will be on location with food by donation and funds going to the Alberni District Secondary School band.

To register, call 250-723-2181 or visit www.portalberni.ca/parks-and-recreation-events and fill out the entry form. Entry forms must be filled out prior to starting the event. The swim starts on Jan. 1 at noon sharp.

A free shuttle will be available from Echo Centre from 11-11:45 a.m. to take people to Canal Beach and from 12:30-1 p.m. to take them back.

For those driving, parking will be available at Canal Beach and at the Western Forest Products APD mill parking lot closest to the beach. Spots fill up fast, so come early.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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