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Tuesday, January 03, 2006
  Polar Bear Dip 2006
Had an amazing time at the Polar Bear Dip 2006, thanks to Richard Barter and his family for inviting me along for this! It was an incredible day!

Headed out to Coronation park in Oakville, arrived at about 12:30pm, I had taken it easy New Years Eve, so I wasn't feeling hung over or anything, and had a hearty breakfast so I was feeling pretty good. Realized that I'd forgotten to bring a towel (Duh!). I called the Barters and luckily they hadn't left yet so they brought a spare for me.

The kids built a cool snow fort while we milled around a bit, then we got registered and lined up.

Pictured here (from left-to-right) are my fellow polar-buddies, Brian, Richard, and myself (pre-dip). Temperature was probably around zeroish... Not windy or anything, which was good...

At about 2:00pm the line started to move as they allowed groups of about 50-100 'dippers' to the roped-off beach area. There were probably about maybe 3,000-5,000 people there all together including 'dippers' and watchers...

Got down to the beach area, stripped down to my Toon jersey, shorts and old runners... At this point the adreneline really starts pumping, you know it's coming, I'm jumping up and down, anxious to get in... We're there for probably 3 or 4 minutes (not sure why the hold up?), I'm looking around for the boys in the crowd, but can't find them... Theres a really eclectic mix of people, among them, some dude in his 30's wearing a pink leotard... Nice...and then we hear the countdown, 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...


Everyone starts to run into the water, of course the first few strides into the water you feel the freezing cold temperature, as it splashes up, but the mayhem and excitement takes over from any common sense and I continue to run in... A few people sort of slip and fall around me, and I dodge them and continue out to about waist deep water, then I drop in, fully submerged and it's this massive body shock, followed by an almost temporary paralysis, I come out of the water and turn back towards the shore, and I'm looking for Jack, George and Henry along the shore because I knew they were probably about 20 or 30 feet over from the big crowd, and I wanted to see them and wave to them... I'm trying to yell out and wave, but my body isn't quite working right... I head back into shore and I'm sort of walking like frankenstein at first, then I just want to get to the towels and start getting dry and warm...

I get to shore and decide that stripping off the jersey would be a good idea (not so sure about that now), but the thing is totally stuck to me, so it takes a few good tugs to get it over my head, a CTV reporter comes by, and I have no recollection of what I said... Richard, Brian and I get a few pictures snapped, then it's time to gather up our things and make our way to the changing area...

It's a slow slog as there are a bunch of people lined up and we're walking past spectators and stuff, and it's pretty surreal at this point, you don't really feel cold, just mostly in your feet, they're definitely the worse off (probably because of course your shoes are still totally soaked with freezing water), so we arrive at a couple of U-Haul cube vans, walk up a ramp and we're inside (although it's not heated), and we can get changed into warm clothes...

Then it's all over... We're back in our warm clothes, we get a few gulps of hot chocolate (boy does it taste good), then we head over to Richard's brother-in-law's station wagon, he's got a tail-gate-style coleman stove fired up with some mulled wine, which also tastes good, feeling plenty warmed up by now...

All in all a fantastic experience, I'd recommend it to anyone, will definitely do it next year, it's a new tradition!


Here's an article from the Toronto Star:

and here's one that touches on the topic on CTV.ca:
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A personal blog by John Walter.

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I think a lot. Some people say I think too much... However, I don't want to be seen as being aloof or pretentious, it's just that I really enjoy philosophical questions and deep thoughts. That's not to say that I don't find pleasure in more down-to-earth or trivial things, like beer and soccer :) I'm happily married with 3 wonderful children. I'm a partner in a technology services company based in Toronto. Myers Briggs says I'm an ENTJ

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