Fred Maguire

Pirates ready for annual polar bear plunge

NANAIMO – The 57th annual Frank Ney Memorial Polar Bear Swim takes place on Boxing Day.

Residents of the Harbour City have the opportunity to dress up and jump into freezing cold ocean water, all without receiving curious looks from complete strangers.

It’s all part of a long-running Nanaimo tradition that has lasted more than five decades and is just around the corner.

Nanaimo Realty’s 57th annual Frank Ney Memorial Polar Bear Swim will take place at Departure Bay Beach’s Kin Hut on Monday (Dec. 26) at 1 p.m., with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Darren McGee, event organizer, told the News Bulletin that there will be live music, hotdogs available for a small donation to the Haven House and a nice fire to keep everyone warm. He also said individuals are strongly encouraged to wear costumes, as there will be prizes for the best ones.

“We always make it a fun time,” he said.

The polar bear swim was originally organized by Frank Ney and was first held in 1959. McGee said there is a specific reason why the swim doesn’t take place on New Year’s Day, as it does in many other communities across the province.

“Frank always wanted to be ahead of Vancouver, so we did it on Boxing Day when they did it on New Year’s Day,” he said. “It’s a real Nanaimo tradition and it kind of helps after the big Christmas dinner.”

Participation in the swim is free. For more information, please visit


Just Posted

Big top set up in north Nanaimo as circus comes to town

American Crown Circus Circo Osorio will be at Woodgrove Centre from Sept. 19-23

Nanaimo area United Way kicks off fundraising campaign

Money raised benefits many, including those affected by opioid crisis

Council adopts whistleblower policy for City of Nanaimo

Policy designed to protect staff members who wish to report potential wrongdoing

City, Crime Stoppers, 529 Garage combat Nanaimo bike thefts

Dozens of 529 Garage app signs installed on trails to inform cyclists about anti-theft program

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Machleary proposal would alter Old City

Density of proposed development very different from what’s currently allowed, notes letter writer

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Nanaimo Search and Rescue to build a long-term base in Harewood

Group will sign 25-year co-management agreement for Fourth Street rec centre

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

Most Read