How to Ring in the New Year

Yes, we did it again! On New Year’s Day, we made our way down to English Bay to celebrate the Vancouver way.Call we Vancouverites and the people from numerous countries who join us what you like: silly, brave, adventurous,  foolhardy … you’d probably be right! You can add fun loving to the list, as you’ll see with these participants who made a rather grand entrance at the beach.

Here’s a look a some of the more conservative among us. After a night of New Year’s Eve festivities, many were out enjoying a walk along the beach, or heading to Stanley Park.  Some, like this gardener, were simply basking in the sight of pansies showing their faces on January 1st in Canada. If you look closely at the shot below, you’ll see daffodils making their way through the soil of this sunny spot by the beach.

Others were staking out spots to watch all the zaniness begin.

The event isn’t one of careless silliness, however. There’s plenty of information for individuals to assess whether or not it’s appropriate for them to take part in the event, and there are lifeguards and row boats at the ready. Post-swim, we and hundreds of others make our way across the beach to the Cactus Club Cafe. There, we drop off food bank donations and gratefully receive wrap our hands around cups of what always seems to be the best tasting hot chocolate in town.

Despite the sunshine and gorgeous scenery, it was chilly. The swim starts at 2:30 in the afternoon, presumably to give people time to recuperate from New Year’s Eve celebrations. If I had my choice, though, I’d move the event up an hour or so – partly to get it done with, and partly because the sun looked just that much brighter at 1:00 p.m.

The beach and surrounding walkways don’t stay quiet for long. Soon, onlookers converge on English Bay by both land and water. This is too good an event to miss!

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