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Vancouver's annual English Bay Polar Bear Swim brings out thousands

Since 1920, Vancouverites have been starting their New Year by plunging into the chilly waters of English Bay.

'Even if you’re not taking the plunge, it’s fun to watch the spectacle'

Thousands braved the cold to take part in the Annual Polar Bear Swim at English Bay on the first day of 2016. (@Wutdoing/Twitter)

Thousands of people braved the cold Friday afternoon in Vancouver with a chilly plunge at the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim in English Bay.

Each year since 1920, the swim has attracted participants looking to bring in the New Year with a sobering dip in the Pacific Ocean.

"The Polar Bear Swim is a great Vancouver tradition," said Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.

"Even if you're not taking the plunge, it's fun to watch the spectacle." 

Last year, the Park Board and Cactus Club Cafe helped raise 287 pounds of food and $1,330 for the food bank. 

"We encourage spectators and swimmers to bring non-perishable food items or a cash donation for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank," said Kirby-Yung.

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