Annual Polar Bear Dip returns on New Year’s Day in support of Community Living Huntsville

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Submitted by the Huntsville Polar Bear Dip

It’s time you took a better New Year’s photo.

The best, most interesting, and only truly Canadian New Year’s event in Muskoka is the Huntsville Polar Bear Dip, and it’s back for the eighth year.

At noon on Jan. 1, the region’s bravest will jump into the icy waters of Peninsula Lake both for their own glory and to support the work of Community Living Huntsville.

Whether you're a participant or a spectator, the Huntsville Polar Bear Dip is pure fun (supplied photo)

Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, the Huntsville Polar Bear Dip is pure fun (supplied photo)

“There’s nothing quite like kicking off the year by jumping into a frozen lake,” said Markus Latzel, the organizer and a regular participant in the Huntsville Polar Bear Dip. “It’s a fun, unique, and really exhilarating thing to do.”

For years the event has drawn a sizable crowd to the Hidden Valley Resort dock both to dip and to watch. There’s always plenty of cheers, gasps and applause.

“People come back year after year to take the dip or just watch. We are very lucky that Hidden Valley Resort hosts us every year for this event. They even cut the hole for us, which is not easy work!” said Latzel.

This year, the Huntsville Polar Bear Dip selected Community Living Huntsville as the charity that will receive all money raised.

Community Living Huntsville provides supports and advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities. They work so that each individual may grow to be the decision makers in their own lives at home, school, work and within the communities of North Muskoka.

Community Living Huntsville’s Manager of Community Development, Andrea Johnston, said they have recently launched the new Pathways program to help those who have fallen through the cracks.

“Several years ago, it was brought to our attention that there was a gap and a significant need in our town that was not being met. People were being left behind; unable to access support.  We acted on this by calling out to citizens of our community,” said Johnston. “The financial support we’ve received and continue to receive from the community of Huntsville has enabled us to launch the Pathways program on November 1, 2018.  Individuals who are falling between the cracks and not meeting eligibility criteria for developmental services but still needing support will now have the opportunity to get the support that they need and will no longer be left behind.”

Following the dip, to help warm everyone up, there will be a bonfire near the dock and free hot chocolate for all, sponsored by Hidden Valley Resort.

Interested dippers only need to attend just before noon on Jan. 1 at Huntsville’s Hidden Valley Resort beach at 1755 Hidden Valley Road.

For more information, visit the Huntsville Polar Bear Dip Facebook page or its CanadaHelps fundraising page.

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