Barry Clark, of Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty, front, and Brad Ney lead a crowd of about 250 participants to the starting point for their charge into the waves at last year’s Frank Ney Memorial Polar Bear Swim at Departure Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo’s bold swimmers will brave the waves on Boxing Day

Beach fire, live music and prizes at 60th annual Frank Ney Memorial Polar Bear Swim

The bonfire had better be hot because the waters of Departure Bay are certain to be a tad chilly for the 60th annual Frank Ney Memorial Polar Bear Swim.

As it has been for the past 59 years, this year’s swim happens again at Departure Bay Beach on Boxing Day, Dec. 26, in front of the Kin Hut, where swimmers will gather courage and find ways to fortify their tolerance for the elements. Sign-in starts at 11:30 a.m.

Participants and everyone who attends the event to cheer them on will enjoy live musical entertainment from a Hawaiian band led by Paul Gogo, while they have hot drinks and snacks. There will be a food truck on site too.

There will be prizes for the best costumes.

“We want people in costumes,” said Brad Ney, the event’s ‘polar piper’ who will lead swimmers to the water’s edge and fire his flare gun at precisely 1 p.m. sharp to signal the charge into the waves. “The more costumes the better.”

There will also be prizes for the oldest and youngest participants. The oldest participant was 90 last year when an estimated 250 participants churned the chuck, some briefly, other hardier souls for a bit longer before the cold forced them hurriedly back to shore.

St. John Ambulance personnel will also be standing by for anyone who stays in the water a bit too long or finds another way to hurt themselves.

Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty is once again sponsoring the event, which also collects donations to support Haven Society in Nanaimo.

Sign-up for the event is free and anyone who participates will receive a commemorative coin and certificate when they come out of the water.

“There’ll be lot of fooling around and goings-on,” Ney said. “Lots of … singing songs in the Kin Hut. We’ll have the place rockin.’”



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More than 100 apartments for seniors approved in Nanaimo’s hospital area

Development permit issued for 1125 Seafield Cres.

Outreach team making connections with young people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youth advisory council initiative offers ‘no-barrier’ help downtown

Alzheimer’s society offering online support for caregivers in Nanaimo

Webinars explore ‘mindfulness’ in caring for dementia patients

Shopping resumes aboard Nanaimo ferry sailings

B.C. Ferries reopens gift shops on Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay

City of Nanaimo reports on its salaries, expenses and payments

Municipality files statement of financial information with B.C. government

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Nanaimo RCMP want speeding motorists to ‘slow the blazes down’

Police raise alarm after seeing 400-per cent rise in excessive speeding tickets last month

City of Nanaimo takes inventory of its land for official community plan review

Report recommends high-density residential development, identifies shortage of industrial land

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIU faculty members looking at COVID-19 impacts on communities

Vancouver Island University’s research award committee funds nine projects

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Most Read