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New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dips raise money for charity

Makes it look so easy. Polar Bear Dips for humans on New Year’s Day raise money for charity. 

Is plunging into icy water good for a hangover? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s certainly a good way to wake yourself up in a hurry. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We reckon the odds are about even on this one, but it’s Polar Bear Dip time again. New Year’s Day, that madcap day when people go down to the beach and jump in the lake, screeching and splashing with joy as they turn blue and numb.

At least the craziness of it all is for a good cause. And this year, the aptly named Courage Polar Bear Dip is aiming to reach $1 million in money raised for charity, the first to do so in Canada. The money goes to World Vision Canada, a partner in this madness since 1995. This year’s goal is to raise money for clean drinking water in Rwanda.

Courage dip organizers are expecting as many as 1,000 dippers. It gets underway at Coronation Park in Oakville on New Year’s Day at 12:30 pm.

Another good reason to jump into icy water on a cold winter’s day is Habitat for Humanity. The Toronto Polar Bear Dip this year is hoping to raise $30,000 to go to providing affordable housing in this city. So far, the dippers have raised $130,000 for Habitat for Humanity, since 2005.

Join the expected 300 or so dippers, if you have whatever it takes, at the Sunnyside Pavilion, Sunnyside beach, New Year’s Day at 12 noon. There will even be a bagpiper to pipe you into the water. Imagine, the last sounds you hear on this earth could be shrieking, freezing dippers and a bagpipe! But seriously, they do say you should talk to your doctor before doing something this crazy.

Get all the details about pledges and waivers and what to wear and where to go here.

If you are in the Ottawa area on New Year’s Day, and feel the need to cool off, Sears Canada is sponsoring its Great Canadian Chill to raise money for children’s cancer research. In this version of the Polar Bear Dip, you get to throw yourself into the icy Ottawa River. Proceeds will go to patient support at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), which includes programs and research in the hospital’s Oncology Department, and national pediatric oncology research initiatives, such as the Sears Childhood Cancer Fellowship. Find out more about The Chill.

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