polar bear news

Every year hundreds of people jump into the cold icy waters of Lake Ontario at Coronation Park in Oakville, Ontario on New Years' day. Some do it to try something a little over the edge, some do it to bring in the New Year, but they all do it to help World Vision Canada.

Net proceeds for the event have been going to different World Vision water projects around the world since 1995 and over $1,471,000 has been raised in total.

2016 | $140,000 RAISED FOR GASHORA & RUGARAMA, RWANDA

On January 1 2016 we surpassed our goal and raised over $140,000! The funds raised will support the Rugarama Water and Sanitation Project in Rwanda that will improve the health and conditions of 8,149 people through the increased access to clean water in the Bugasara district. Check out the video of the day courtesy of our friend Kevin September.

2015 | $130,000 RAISED FOR GASHORA & RUGARAMA, RWANDA

It was another bitterly cold New Years Day for Polar Bear Dippers but that didnt stop 734 brave participants from taking part in the 30th annual event! Thanks to those enthusiastic dippers, the tireless volunteers and our many corporate and individual supporters, we were able to raise over $130,000 for the Rwanda: Right to Clean Water project.
Check out this great video recap from Kevin September

2014 | $141,000 RAISED FOR GASHORA & RUGARAMA, RWANDA

At a bone chilling -18°C with the wind chill, this was the coldest dip in years but that didn't stop 723 dippers from taking the plunge with us! The costume contest was rockin' with special guest judge Thea Munster from the Toronto Zombie Walk and winner Thomas Lindhares as KISS frontman Gene Simmonds. The (much needed) warming tents were provided by Oakville Hydro and entertainment came in the form of live music (for the 10th year) from Whaling along with a few screens showing the Winter Classic hockey game!

Big thanks go out to our dedicated team of volunteers who worked tirelessly in the days leading up to the event to clear the thick ice that had formed on the beach and into the water. Thanks to those volunteers, our dippers and supporters we raised over $140,000 for the Rwanda: Right to Clean Water project in Gashora and Rugarama, Rwanda which will provide clean water to over 4,000 people. Watch this great video recap from our friend Kevin September

2013 | $120,000 RAISED FOR KAHI, RWANDA

It was sunny and dry for the first Polar Bear Dip in years and only -4°C! With the help of our supporters, volunteers and 718 dippers we were able to raise over $120,000 to help provide a water supply and improved sanitation and hygiene to over 3,000 people in Kahi, Rwanda. This pushed us past our goal of One Million Dollars in total funds raised for World Vision since 1995! Check out this video recap from Kevin September

2012 | $130,000 RAISED FOR MANONGA, TANZANIA

It was 5°C with rain and high winds but that didn't stop 712 dippers from taking the plunge on January 1st 2012. Celebrity Chef Roger Mooking entertained the crowd as he hosted the costume contest then counted down the first of 3 waves of dippers with Trent and Todd. The $130,000 raised will complete the Manonga Water and Sanitation Project that began with funds raised from the 2011 event. Check out this great video of the day courtesy of Kevin September.

2011 | $150,000 RAISED FOR MANONGA, TANZANIA

Rainy and 13°C is not what you expect when planning a Polar Bear Dip but it certainly brought the crowds! Colin Mochrie and Deb McGrath counted down from the stage as 728 dippers took to Lake Ontario and helped us reach our goal of $150,000 for the Manonga Water and Sanitation Project in Tanzania. Thanks to our dippers, our generous sponsors and our incredible volunteers we are able to help bring clean water to 6,000 people. 

This project will build 10 borehole wells, provide improved sanitation facilities, teach proper hygiene and sanitation practices and allow vegetable and fruit trees to be planted to protect the environment and provide income that will maintain the wells.

2010 | $230,000 RAISED FOR KAHI, RWANDA

Wow! All previous records were broken at the 25th anniversary dip as over 600 dippers took the plunge raising more funds than ever! These brave participants along with their sponsors, the 5000+ crowd of spectators and unbelievable corporate support brought in over $230,000 which will complete the Kahi Water Project in Rwanda, fully fund a water project in Kenya AND start another clean water project in Tanzania!

2009 | $55,000 RAISED FOR KAHI, RWANDA

At 1:59pm on January 1 2009, Tom Cochrane led the 5000+ crowd at Coronation Park in a countdown as 450 dippers prepared to dip into Lake Ontario. Thanks to those brave dippers, the enthusiastic spectators, our fantastic corporate sponsors and over 60 volunteers, we were able to raise $55,000 for the Kahi Water Project in Rwanda. 

The money raised will help provide a dependable source of clean water for the people of Kahi in the Umutara region of Rwanda. By drilling new wells and building reservoirs, the project will bring safe water close to the people who live in the community. The new water system will reduce the suffering caused by drinking dirty water and save children hours of wasted time, which can now be spent at school. 

Trent and Todd visited the Kahi Water Project in Rwanda with World Vision to see how the funds have helped the community. The money raised in 2009 funded the first half of the project and we hope to raise another $60,000 at the 2010 event to fund the second half.

2008 | $60,000 RAISED FOR SOUTH DARFUR, SUDAN

It was a cold and snowy New Years Day in 2008 but that didn't stop 400 dippers and 5000 spectators from coming out to Coronation Park and helping us surpass our goal of $40,000. At the end of the day, over $60,000 had been raised for water projects in South Darfur, Sudan.

The project will help reduce water-borne disease for 7,000 people in eight villages in Edd al Fursan by providing clean water with new borehole wells and hand pumps, restoring clean water with repairs to damaged wells, building 20 latrines, promoting good hygiene practices and establishing and supporting local Water and Sanitation Committees.  

The 2008 event received some added attention as Rick Mercer filmed a segment for The Rick Mercer Report throughout the day. The episode aired on January 15 2008 and can be seen here.

2007 | $40,000 RAISED FOR KANDIAYE & SARÉ YÉROYEL COMMUNITIES IN SENEGAL

In 2007, the warmest water we've had (4C!) was braved by over 450 dippers as over 5000 spectators watched and cheered. These brave participants, the enthusiastic crowd and our generous corporate sponsors helped us reach our goal. We raised over $40,000 for the Koukané Water Project in Senegal.

The Project will help provide a safe, dependable source of water for over 1,300 people in one of Senegal's most impoverished regions. A borehole well with solar pump will be built, along with a ground reservoir, offering a safe, central source of water to sustain eight surrounding communities. With fresh, clean water, residents will be able to grow vegetables throughout the year, increase their food supply and income security, and improve the health and well being of the entire community.

2006 | $35,000 RAISED FOR THE MASIMA COMMUNITY IN KENYA

In 2006, mild temperatures brought over 400 dippers and 5000 spectators to Coronation Park who helped us reach our goal of $35,000! Funds raised went to the drilling of a bore hole and the laying of over 14 kilometers of water pipelines in the Masimba community in Kenya's Kaijado district.

2005 |$60,000 RAISED FOR TSUNAMI RELIEF

In 2005, 500 dippers and over 5000 spectators helped us raise over $60,000 for tsunami relef. Due to the Boxing Day earthquake that sparked tsunamis and unimaginable disaster causing deaths of over 120,000 people, all net proceeds from the 2005 event were donated to World Vision Canada's efforts in south Asia. The Federal government matched all donations made to tsunami relief so approximately $120,000 was raised for World Vision.

2004 | $20,000 RAISED FOR COSTA RICA, NICARAGUA, ZAMBIA AND UGANDA

In 2004, the great weather helped bring in 450 dippers and over 5000 spectators. People arrived early to enjoy the music of Whaling and helped us raise over $20,000!

2003 | $20,000 RAISED FOR ZAMBIA, UGANDA, COSTA RICA AND NICARAGUA

In 2003, we had 320 dippers and over 4000 spectators who helped us reach our goal of $20,000.

2002 | $20,000 RAISED FOR CHILDREN IN AFGHANISTAN

In 2002, over 3000 spectators watched as over 300 Polar Bears Dippers took the plunge in 1 degree  water.  Almost $20 000 was raised to help Afghani refugees. It helped protect them from hunger and a bitterly cold winter.

2001 | $20,000 RAISED FOR NICARAGUA, HONDURAS AND TANZANIA

In 2001, a storm on December 29th, caused panic to the organizers where tons of snow hit the lake at Coronation Park. It was the first time the event may have been cancelled. However, on New Years Eve day and New Years day, six volunteers with jackhammers, axes, pick axes and shovels worked eight hours to dig an entry and an exit to the lake. Luckily everything worked out and 236 dippers, took the plunge while close to 3500 spectators witnessed. A little under $20,000 was raised for World Vision.   

 

2000-1996 | OVER $100,000 RAISED FOR WATER PROJECTS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES