A crowd of hearty souls braved the frigid waters of Parksville Bay to ring in New Year’s Day 2012 by participating in the 22nd annual Polar Bear Swim. After a very brief dip in the ocean, about 150 people made a run for the shore. Mild temperatures on January 1 likely drew the large crowd of onlookers who cheered and offered encouragement.
Volunteers from Arrowsmith Search and Rescue monitored the swimmers in the water, while the Parksville Fire Department manned the beach. Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) recreation programmer Anne Porteous said 150 swimmers registered for the noon time event at the Parksville community beach and she said it was a huge success.
“Everyone was safe. It was a great event and it seems to get bigger every year,” she said.
In 2011 there were 110 swimmers registered and Porteous said they will plan for huge numbers in 2013.
The RDN sponsored event included a certificate for the swimmers and hot beverages and snacks.