A crash-test dummy emerges from the surf seemingly no worse for wear after taking part in the 28th annual Polar Bear Splash at Parksville’s beachfront Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. — J.R. Rardon photo

Sunshine, balmy weather greet Parksville’s Polar Bear Splash

Regional District of Nanaimo draws hundreds to annual New Year’s Day plunge

While traditional ‘Polar Bear’ swims and jumps were cancelled due to bitter cold temperatures in parts of Eastern Canada, participants in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s annual Polar Bear Splash at Parksville beach were treated to mild temperatures, bright sunshine and even a low tide on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

Approximately 200 people, ranging from pre-schoolers to retirees, charged into the surf below the boardwalk gazebo in Community Park at noon Monday. Hundreds more lined the beach and boardwalk to cheer, take photos and support friends and family members.

Among the splashers were a trio of friends, Linda Reilly, Janine Murphy and Leanne Wilson, who were all taking part for the first time.

“I’m doing this because I had decided my goal for 2018 was going to be embracing everything with open arms, open mind and open heart,” said Reilly. “And about two minutes after I decided that, I received a text from my friend Janine, asking me to come here and do this. So here we are.”

The event was sponsored by the RDN recreation and parks division, with support from both Arrowsmith Search and Rescue and the Parksville Volunteer Fire Department.

Search and rescue divers waded into the water to hold a rope marking the boundary of the splash area but, due to the low tide, stood in water that reached barely above their knees. Polar Bear Splash participants, many of them in costumes to celebrate the new year, raced to the limit of the course and returned to the beach. Those who did not choose to dive into the water emerged mostly dry above the waist thanks to the shallow water.

Hot beverages and snacks were provided by the RDN on a donation basis.

Janine Murphy, left, and Dawn Menard celebrate after taking part in the 28th annual Polar Bear Splash at Parksville’s beachfront Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. — J.R. Rardon photo

Just Posted

BREAKING: Police raid 23-year-old cannabis compassion club in Victoria

Supporters gather outside the Cannabis Buyers Club on Johnson Street

Father of murdered Realtor writes letter, pleading for help from Saanich mayor

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008, her case remains open

Vancouver Island family reunited with Silver Cross medal after 40 years

‘It’s very moving’: Cilka LaTrace and siblings reflect on uncle’s military service medal

VIDEO: Frequent closures on Tofino-Ucluelet highway expected to continue until summer

“We’ve had 400 blasts to date and moved nearly 90,000 cubic metres of material.”

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Adoption centre closes despite effort to save it; B.C. left with two agencies

Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling in Victoria was set to close in April

Renowned Island carver Simon Charlie remembered for his art and teaching

Cowichan Tribes’ carver’s birthday is Thursday

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Use of force deemed justifiable in arrest of suspect after snowy chase near Nanaimo

Independent Investigation Office of B.C. reports on incident from late last winter

Man and dog safe as crews handle house fire in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

Firefighters were called to 400 block of Machleary Street at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday

ALLAN REID: A good time for Thai in Estevan Village

Plenty of pride on display, from food to hospitality, at Norah Thai Kitchen

Criminal injustices come alive on stage in Secret/e

Criminalization of HIV among themes in Rick Waines’ story, opening Nov. 27 at Intrepid Theatre Club

Victoria artist Blu Smith’s art evolves as he does

From pop art to realism to abstract and more, successful artist follows his muse

Most Read