The Courage Polar Bear Dip for World Vision kicked off 2019 with a splash. Over 700 dippers raised $120,000 for clean water projects through World Vision Canada. 

 

 Thousands of brave thrill-seekers raised a toast to the New Year with a splash into the icy waters of Lake Ontario as they participated in the Courage Polar Bear Dip for World Vision, Canada’s largest and longest running charity event.

 

Each dipper had his or her own reasons to be a part of the action taking place at Oakville’s Coronation Park. Some came to start their New Year with a memorable feat, others for a dare, still more to cheer for their dipping friends and some turned up for the all-round entertainment. But all dippers charged into the near-freezing waters to celebrate a good cause – raise funds for World Vision’s ongoing clean water projects in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Now in its 34th year, the Courage Polar Bear Dip has so far raised $1.7 million for World Vision’s clean water initiatives across the globe. Organizers set and achieved this year’s target at $120,000, to be raised mainly through dip participation and support from the local business community.

 

With each passing year, the dip has only become more exciting and colourful. This time, encouraged by better weather conditions than the previous year, the event witnessed more first-time participants running into the waters than ever before. Some even came all the way from Jamaica and Africa to be part of the action. 

 

Many of the 700 dippers were in impressive and elaborate costumes, while close to 5,000 spectators cheered them on.

 

Among the high-profile dippers today were the Courage brothers Todd and Trent, along with World Vision Canada President and CEO Michael Messenger and newly appointed COO Sumair Mirza. “What a great way to start a new year – with friends and family, doing something adventurous that makes you feel alive and at the same time, brings clean water to people who need it,” said Michael Messenger, after completing his dip.

 

“The Polar Bear Dip is our way of demonstrating that all Canadians stand shoulder to shoulder with less fortunate communities across the world,” said Todd Courage, one of the founders of the initiative. “The energy down at the Park is fantastic. Each year, families, friends and communities come together to give back to others in a gesture that truly signifies the true message of the season.”

 

World Vision is the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the developing world, providing a new person with clean water every 10 seconds. Since 2015, World Vision has provided access to clean water to more than 2.3 million people for consumption and sanitation. World Vision’s clean water initiatives have helped save the lives of thousands of children from water-related diseases caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene.

 

Contributing to the positive energy of the event, the dip also featured live music entertainment, prize draws and welcomed local political leaders. 

Article by: Peter Turkington