Cambridge Bay residents get chilled for charity
Annual Polar Bear Dip raises funds for multi-use facility
SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS
CAMBRIDGE BAY — The frigid sea water didn’t stop Cambridge Bay residents from taking a quick dip in the river July 21.
The third annual Polar Bear Dip attracted about 20 participants who traded in their sweaters and boots for bathing suits and t-shirts to face frigid waters as dozens of bundled-up bystanders watched in awe and took photos.
“I think it was really successful,” said Emily Pope, lifeguard supervisor. “We raised over $3,000 from donations alone.”
All the money raised at the Polar Bear Dip, organized by the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay aquatics staff, and the barbecue that followed is being put toward a new multi-use facility in Cambridge Bay.
Pope said that to date more than $100,000 has been raised for construction of the building.
Only 15 people were registered for the bitterly cold dip, but more than 20 swimmers showed up for the annual event on a partly cloudy day with a high of 11 C.
Christine Aye was one of the Cambridge Bay residents who ran into the ice-cold water.
She participated in the Polar Bear Dip last year and again this year.
“I knew what I was getting into and the water was surprisingly warmer than last year,” she said. “I had a lot of fun jumping in the water and watching everyone’s reactions.”
No more than five minutes after they ran in, the participants retreated back to shore to warm up and buy hamburgers and hotdogs at a barbecue that was open for a little less than an hour and raised more than $550.
“We also had a competition to see who could raise the most money,” said Pope, who won the competition by raising $760 for the new facility.
Fred Muise and Adrienne Brinston came second and third by raising $747 and $520 respectively.
“All around it was a great day,” she said. “It was lots of fun.”