The 25th Annual Courage Brothers' Polar Bear Dip for World Vision

Proceeds to benefit the Kahi Water Project in Rwanda

OAKVILLE, ON, Dec. 31 /CNW/ - Tomorrow, hundreds of dippers are expected to brave Lake Ontario's icy waters at Oakville's Coronation Park during the 25th annual Courage Brothers' Polar Bear Dip, which is Toronto's most supported New Year's Day charitable tradition. More than $420,000 has been raised to provide clean water in developing countries since the first dip in 1985.

The event, which began when local businessmen Todd and Trent Courage jumped into Lake Ontario in Burlington, is now Canada's largest charitable polar bear dip - attracting around 500 dippers and 5,000 spectators each year.

"We knew that clean water was scarce in many parts of Africa, but after visiting Rwanda this past summer, the realization of how difficult it really is for Rwandans has been life changing," says Todd Courage. "The image of watching hundreds of children carrying heavy yellow containers full of water, walking many miles to deliver it back to their villages and homes has been permanently etched in our minds - it's like a human pipeline - and that image is the motivation for us to raise more money this year than ever before imagined."

In celebration of the event's 25th year, the Courage brothers and friends hope to have their biggest event ever and surpass their $60,000 fundraising goal. "Already there are indications that supporters are more committed than ever before and we are anticipating that this year's celebration of the event's 25th year at Coronation Park will be one to remember for years to come," says Todd Courage. "But most exciting of all, is that due to the increased support and giving, we can assure that clean drinking water is accessible in close to the villages allowing children more time to go to school rather than spend their days carrying heavy loads of water long distances"

The proceeds will be used to drill boreholes, install wells, collect rainwater for irrigation, and train the community how to protect their vital water resources.

Last year, the event's festival-like atmosphere, with live music, costumes and celebrities (last year Tom Cochrane was a special guest) drew more than 460 participants and 5,000 spectators to Coronation Park in Oakville.

"The Courage Brothers Polar Bear Dip is proof of what's possible when caring people come together for a meaningful cause - like clean water for Africa," says Michael Messenger, Vice President of World Vision. "The water projects funded by Polar Bear Dip supporters are delivering real and lasting change to some of the world's most vulnerable children and their communities. We're thankful for this incredible partnership, and proud - especially for the 25th anniversary - to be affiliated with this important event."

    
    WHEN:     New Year's Day, Friday January 1, 2010

    WHERE:    Coronation Park, Oakville, Ontario
              Lakeshore Road between 3rd and 4th Line

    WHAT:     12:30 p.m.  Registration begins
                          Live band performs on main stage
              1:00 p.m.   Regional Chair of Halton welcomes visitors
                          Oakville Member of Parliament brings greetings
                          Costume contest on main stage
              1:30 p.m.   Pre-dip interview availability (Todd Courage, Trent
                          Courage, Michael Messenger of World Vision)
                          Please register at media table to ensure interview
              2:00 p.m.   Polar Bear Dip begins

    All Participants:
        -  With the $25 registration fee, will receive a t-shirt, and a
           membership certificate
        -  Who raise more than $100 will receive a Courage Brothers' Polar
           Bear Dip toque
        -  With every $100 raised, will receive a ballot for a chance to win
           prizes
        -  Will be eligible to win prizes for the best individual costume and
           the best group costume
    

SOURCE World Vision Canada

For further information: For further information: visit worldvision.ca or polarbeardip.ca or contact: Jane Bargout, World Vision Canada, Tel: (416) 716-9738, jane_bargout@worldvision.ca; Peter Turkington, Strategic Communications Solutions, Tel: (905) 901-9218, peter@polarbeardip.ca


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