Go jump in the lake at Oakville’s annual Courage Polar Bear Dip fundraiser

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Published December 12, 2023 at 4:16 pm

Is there a better way to start off the new year in Oakville than a quick dip in the frigid waters of Lake Ontario?

Organizers of The Courage Polar Bear Dip don’t think so.

The New Year’s Day tradition started in 1985 when Gaye Courage dared her boys, Todd and Trent, to get off the couch and go “jump in the lake” to wake themselves up.

They, along with a few friends, took up the challenge and it grew from there. The following year more friends joined in. As the event grew larger, the brothers realized this was an opportunity to raise funds for a good cause.

In 1995 they teamed up with World Vision Canada and more than $2 million has been raised to support clean water projects around the world.

This year’s 39th annual event is being held Jan. 1 at Coronation Park in Oakville.

You can register as an individual or team and there’s a $30 registration fee. Participants are encouraged to raise funds as well.

Money goes to clean water projects in Ethiopia and Zambia through World Vision Canada.

Every $100 raised gets participants an entry into the prize draw

On the day of the event, registration opens at 12:30 p.m. with live music by Whaling. There will be a barbecue and hot drinks available, so bring some cash.

Prizes will be handed out for best individual and group costumes at 1:15 p.m. and at 2 p.m. it’s time to hit the lake.

The post-dip party starts at 4 p.m. at the Tin Cup in Oakville where a portion of food proceeds will be donated to the cause and a raffle will be held.

Parking at Coronation Park fills quickly so participants are encouraged to head over to South Oakville Centre, at 1515 Rebecca St., where they can grab a free shuttle bus that runs on a loop from 12:15 p.m. until the event is over.

If you’re not up for hitting the lake, but still want to donate, or for more information or to sign up, visit the website here.

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