Preparing for Polar Bear Dip into Wallace River

Jamie Heap
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Annual bone-chilling event will be held New Year’s Day at Noon.

WENTWORTH-While polar bears are not indigenous to this part of the country, more than a few of their human cousins will gather at 2140 Hunter Rd. on New Year’s Day at 12:00 pm for the annual Polar Bear Dip into the Wallace River.

Two years ago on New Years’ Day, there wasn’t even a flake of snow or chunk of ice to be found at the home of Carson and April Dares, a far cry from this year.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of ice this year,” stated Carson Dares. “The Wallace River froze over on December 15, the first time in the 20 years of this event that it is has happened this early. This usually doesn’t happen until the middle or the end of January, so winter came at least a month early this year.”

Dares’ first attempt at chipping through the ice yielded only 18 inches of water.

“I don’t know what kind of Polar Bear Dip to expect this year,” said Dares. “I’ll find out Sunday when I take the power saw down on the ice and starting cutting.”

Several metres over, Dares has better luck with his steel bar, breaking through deeper than 18 inches. “This water will go up to your chest,” said Dare. “I just hope tomorrow when I use my power saw that the ice gets sucked down river.”

Carson and his wife April, who have taken over the Polar Bear Dip from April’s late father, recalls their daughter’s eagerness to participate in the dip. “My daughter’s grandfather said that she couldn’t take part in the dip until she was school age,” said Carson Dares. “She was six years old when she first tried it.”

If the past is any indication, between eight and 25 participants and up to 100 spectators will congregate Wednesday at noon at their home (2140 Hunter Rd).

“It’s going to be a party,” said Dares. “For safety reasons, I’m the first to go in and the last to get out. “We probably won’t stay in for more than a minute or two.”

At the request of Carson’s wife April Dares, participants and spectators alike are asked to bring a non-perishable food item which will be donated to Autumn House.






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