By Tristan Marks
On New Year’s Day, Grimsby’s Bal Harbour Beach will play host to a bizarre, yet exhilarating sight.
At exactly 2 p.m., a herd of strange creatures will rush together into the freezing waters of Lake Ontario.
No, the town is not facing a sudden migration of cold water lemmings or arctic penguins. These are human beings participating in the 12th annual Grimsby Polar Bear Dip in support of McNally House.
“It’s all about getting into freezing water,” said event organizer David Munford.
Participants must show up to the beach starting at 1:30 p.m. to register. Registration is $25 and requires a form that can be completed on location or ahead of time by downloading it from grimsbypolarbear.ca.
As with previous years, the dip’s proceeds will be donated to McNally House.
Munford also has some advice for any first-time polar bears.
“Make sure there are some warm clothes nearby,” he said.
“It’s also a good idea to wear a pair of footwear into the water. The rocks might be smooth but, in the cold, they hurt.”
This year also marks an important milestone for the long-running event. Munford is stepping down after this year and seeking out a successor to keep the Polar Bear Dip going into 2021.
“Honestly, it doesn’t take a lot of work,” he said.
Munford explained that anyone looking to take over would mostly have to prepare the site for the event by clearing any ice and make sure that the registration money is sorted out to be presented to the recipient charity.
“It’s a bit of work getting things setup but it’s all worth it to see a mass of crazed people charging into the freezing cold water,” he said.
Anyone interested in carrying on the tradition can contact Munford by calling 289-339-6881 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.