By Katherine Grant
Dipping one’s scantily clad body into freezing cold water after clambering down an ice-covered, rocky shoreline while being buffeted by a chill wind is not everyone’s idea of what to do on the first day of the new year.
Yet once again this year, led by organizer David Munford, 80 brave souls did just that for the 8th annual Grimsby Polar Bear Dip and helped to raise $3,000 for McNally House hospice.
They came dressed in costumes and capes, top hats and tails, and each made the brave walk into the Lake Ontario waves at the foot of Bal Harbour Road.
“There is no rational way to explain it, except for maybe bragging rights,” says Munford of the appeal of the Polar Bear Dip.
Munford started the local fundraising dip after participating in similar events in Oakville.
“Why drive all that way and participate with people I don’t know?” he said.
So he decided to not only start a local event but to make it really count.
“It started as something fun to do and it is still fun,” he added. “This is something our community can do with family and friends to benefit a local cause.” He chose McNally House because everyone has been touched by the loss of a loved one.
Since its inception, the local dip has raised more than $20,000 for the hospice.
This year the Grimsby Fire Department volunteered to be on stand by in case a participant experienced distress.
“They volunteered which was awesome,” said Munford. “Thankfully we have never had a problem.”
As for the dip itself, purists say it doesn’t count unless you go under the water.
“I go under every year. My wife went in up to her waist and said that still counts and I am not going to argue with her!”