New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip

Participants in the Polar Bear Dip on January 1st, 2022. Photo by Earl Hartlen

THE New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip has been a tradition in Port Dover since 1983. After four decades of dips, there have been thousands of people take part in this annual event. During Covid-19 restrictions, the number of people participating dropped but the event continued. On New Year’s Day 2022, there was again a large number taking the icy plunge and, as always, a larger number watching from the beach.

The event takes place along the lake at the end of Walker Street at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day. There is no official organization and individuals make their own decision to take a dip in the lake on New Year’s Day.

Conditions can vary widely. Some years there is no ice and participants run straight off the beach into the water. Other years have seen heavy ice and a hole must be chopped before people take the plunge.

Past participants say it is a good idea to wear footwear into the water and always have someone watching and waiting for you with towels and blankets.

Originally published December 21, 2022

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