BRITISH COLUMBIA

Polar Bear Swim Vancouver 2014: What You Need To Know

12/27/2013 06:57 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 01:38 EST
AP/The Canadian Press

Last year, more than 2,200 people gathered at Vancouver's English Bay beach to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim.

Want to join the masses in 2014? Great! We have all of the information you need.

The local tradition, which originated in 1920 by founder Peter Pantages, starts around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 1. Feel free to wear a costume or some kind of festive garment (see the below photo gallery for last year's highlights).

If you wish to be part of the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club, you must register before the swim starts (good news: it's free!). Registration takes place in front of the English Bay Bathhouse between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the day of the swim.

Everyone is encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food items or cash to give to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

And here are some swim tips, from the City of Vancouver website:

- If you have a heart problem - just watch!

- Children must swim and stay with an adult

- Please leave your dog at home

- Do not drink - alcohol does not warm you up - it accelerates hypothermia

- Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air

- Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren

- Entrants in the 100 yard race - meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure

- First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat - give your names to the lifeguard

- After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table

- Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.

Have fun and stay safe out there, polar bears!

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Polar Bear Swim 2013, Vancouver