The Courage Polar Bear Dip: Twenty-eight years, $1 million and a warm, lasting legacy

Video: Now in its 28th year, the Courage Polar Bear Dip is a New Year's tradition for many Canadians looking to have fun and help others. On January 1, 2012, more than 700 people took part.

Hundreds of Canadians take part in the Courage Polar Bear Dip on New Year's Day each year, including these dippers in 2012. (CNW Group/World Vision Canada) (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)

Courage Polar Bear Dip co-founders Todd and Trent Courage at the most recent dip on January 1, 2012. (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)

OAKVILLE, ON, Dec. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Now entering its 28th year, the Courage Polar Bear Dip, Canada's largest dip for charity and an established holiday tradition, has a lot to be proud of. Every year hundreds of brave souls celebrate the start of the year by running into Lake Ontario's frigid waters at Coronation Park in Oakville, Ont. This plunge attracts thousands of spectators, and benefits countless more around the world. The 'water for water' event has been raising money for World Vision water projects since 1995. When it happens this New Year's Day, the total funds raised will pass the $1-million mark, making it Canada's first million-dollar dip.

In 1985 Gaye Courage started a tradition by encouraging her two sons Trent, then 17, and Todd, then 21, to ring in the new year a little differently. Thirty friends and family took part in the original dip.

The Courage Polar Bear Dip is now inspiring a new generation of Canadians to help others around the globe. "While I plan to continue dipping for many years to come," says dip co-founder Trent Courage, "it's exciting to introduce the next generation to polar bear dipping and the effect that they can have on so many lives."

"The dip has shaped how I look at the world, by showing what is really happening," says Adam Mills, 12, of Oakville, Ontario. He adds, "My favourite part about the dip is actually jumping in!"

His sister Sarah Mills, 10, chimes in "My favourite part of doing the polar bear dip is knowing you are helping people around the world by raising money for families to have fresh water." She says others her age should get involved, "I would totally encourage kids my age (to do the dip) because it gives them something good to do, helps people out and at the same time you have fun with what you're doing."

In a festive, family atmosphere the Courage Dip sees hundreds of dippers of all ages, from as young as four all the way up to 76.  This year is promising to be the biggest year ever, as it celebrates its million-dollar milestone. Canadians can find out more at www.polarbeardip.ca.

Twitter: @PolarBearDip #milliondollardip

Website: www.polarbeardip.ca or www.worldvision.ca

Video with caption: "Video: Now in its 28th year, the Courage Polar Bear Dip is a New Year's tradition for many Canadians looking to have fun and help others. On January 1, 2012, more than 700 people took part.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20121219_C2268_VIDEO_EN_22089.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20121219_C2268_PHOTO_EN_22089.jpg&clientName=Courage%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip&caption=Video%3A%20Now%20in%20its%2028th%20year%2C%20the%20Courage%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip%20is%20a%20New%20Year%27s%20tradition%20for%20many%20Canadians%20looking%20to%20have%20fun%20and%20help%20others%2E%20On%20January%201%2C%202012%2C%20more%20than%20700%20people%20took%20part%2E&title=COURAGE%20POLAR%20BEAR%20DIP%20%2D%20The%20Courage%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip%3A%20Twenty%2Deight%20years%2C%20%241%20million%20and%20a%20warm%2C%20lasting%20legacy&headline=The%20Courage%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip%3A%20Twenty%2Deight%20years%2C%20%241%20million%20and%20a%20warm%2C%20lasting%20legacy

Image with caption: "Hundreds of Canadians take part in the Courage Polar Bear Dip on New Year's Day each year, including these dippers in 2012. (CNW Group/World Vision Canada) (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121219_C2268_PHOTO_EN_22088.jpg

Image with caption: "Courage Polar Bear Dip co-founders Todd and Trent Courage at the most recent dip on January 1, 2012. (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121219_C2268_PHOTO_EN_22093.jpg

SOURCE: Courage Polar Bear Dip


For further information:

MEDIA CONTACTS
Cheryl Singleton, 905-469-6677, cheryl@courage.ca
Genevieve Barber, 905-565-6200 ext. 2176, Genevieve_Barber@worldvision.ca