British Columbia

White Rock Polar Bear Swim cancelled due to pier damage

The 49th annual White Rock Polar Bear Swim on New Year's Day has been called off after the city's historic pier was damaged in last week's windstorm.

Annual New Year's Day event will resume in 2020

People gather for the annual Polar Bear Swim in White Rock in 2018. The annual New Years Day event has been cancelled for 2019 because of damage to the pier pictured here beyond the crowd. (Twitter/Soitsfun)

Revellers planning to partake in White Rock's annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim will have to take the plunge elsewhere this year.

In a statement on its website, the White Rock Rotary Club said the event has been cancelled following damage to the city's historic pier in last week's windstorm.

No one was hurt when the 104-year-old structure broke apart after being battered by strong wind and waves on Dec. 20, but the public has been asked to stay away from the waterfront and to respect barricades that are in place.

As a result, there will be no splashing about in the ocean on the first morning of 2019.

Record winds caused the collapse of the middle section of White Rock Pier. (City of White Rock)

However, there are other options for brave swimmers seeking an icy dip on New Year's Day.

Delta's 39th Annual Polar Bear Swim kicks off at 1 p.m. PT at Boundary Bay Regional Park, while the Port Moody Penguin Plunge takes place at the same time at the Rocky Point Boat Launch.

In Vancouver, the 99th Vancouver Park Board Polar Bear Swim starts on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. PT. 

According to the White Rock Rotary Club, the city's event will resume for its 50th anniversary in 2020.

According to the City of White Rock, it could take until the end of January to repair the pier.


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