Brave souls take the plunge at annual New Year’s Grand Valley Polar Dip

January 10, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

There’s nothing quite like taking a dip in the local swimming hole – especially when the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark and there is snow on the ground.

The annual Grand Valley Lions Club polar dip got under way on New Year’s day with some pretty brave and maybe slightly crazy participants running into the Grand River for a quick swim in the icy waters.

The event raises funds for the Grand Valley Food Bank.

“This is our 28th polar dip,” said Lions Club member Randy McClelland. “We have people coming from all over. There are people from Grand Valley, Shelburne, Dundalk, Fergus, Orangeville and all over. We’re raising funds for the Grand Valley Food Bank.”

While waiting for the official start and race to the Grand River, some people stayed bundled up until the final moment. Others decided it made more sense to shed their outerwear and feel the chill so the plunged into the river wouldn’t be such a shock.

Once in the river, most of the swimmers made a quick exit and beeline for the shore and a warm blanket.

A few managed to turn it into a leisurely swim for several minutes.

Friends Dawn Patton and Kayla Teles arrived from Dundalk to take the plunge. It was the first time for both of them.

“My dad told me about it,” Kayla said. “I’m expecting it to be ice cold and icy.”

Kayla convinced Dawn to come with her as well as her mom Tamara.

“I’ve done some research on this and apparently we’re going to be really shocked,” Tamara said. “My daughter told me about it. She couldn’t find anyone to go with her so I’m here. I’m cold just standing here.”

Some people at the event were veteran polar dip swimmers while others were going to feel the sudden shock of the freezing water for the first time.

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