Canada’s New Year’s traditions come in the form of ice fishing, ice skating with friends and family while watching a stunning firework display and enjoying live music, or keeping an eye out for the aurora borealis while reflecting on the year gone by.

New Year's trivia: Polar Bear Swim, a wonderful New Year custom
New Year’s trivia: Polar Bear Swim, a wonderful New Year custom

Some revellers opt for an exciting (and freezing) activity to kick off the new year by jumping into ice cold sea water. At English Bay beach thousands gather on New Year’s Day annually either to partake in the Polar Bear Swim event or watch those brave enough to do so. Participants can take part in a 100-yard dash with the first three people to reach a buoy winning a prize. After the dash, thousands of participants then run into the freezing water of the Pacific Ocean where they splash around for several minutes before getting out and dressing quickly in warm clothing.

This highly popular event started in Vancouver in the early 1900s and will unfortunately not be taking place in 2021 due to Covid-19. However, residents are encouraged to take a dip in bathtubs or kiddies’ pools filled with icy water on 1 January 2021.

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