For Greater Victoria’s fearless cold water swimmers, ringing in the new year starts by taking the (polar) plunge.
Even if it means swimming in rain, sleet, hail or snow.
More than a hundred brave souls gathered at Willows Beach in Oak Bay on Sunday (Jan. 1) to take part in swim group Cold Water Addicts’ 90th Sunday Adventure, and kick start 2023 with the ultimate refresh.
Participants took to the water donning party horns, dresses, umbrella hats, costumes and other festive attire to help ring in the New Year Island style.
The cold temperatures didn’t turn out to be as much of a shock as couple Harris and Lena Gilmore had anticipated. “We haven’t done it for about ten years,” Harris said. “But it felt fantastic and refreshing. It’s the way to do it.”
Organizer Brian Bolli, a regular cold water swimmer, said there’s no better way to kick off the new year than with an icy dip. It was also the first time Cold Water Addicts organized a New Year’s polar bear swim at Willows Beach.
“We had no idea what to expect whatsoever,” he said. “But look at all the people here, you have to enjoy that.”
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