Twenty-one brave souls took a quick dip in the Georgian Bay on Sunday, February 27, in support of the Save Georgian Bay group of citizens. An hour before the event, St. John’s Ambulance attendants advised that the group stay out of the water due to a strong undertow and strong waves that were pushing chunks of ice toward shore. The ‘dippers’ disregarded the advice and took the plunge.
Throughout February the dippers had been canvassing friends, family, and the pubic for sponsorships. As of Monday morning, February 28, the dippers had raised more than $23,000.
The funds will go to cover the Save Georgian Bay group’s expenses in their effort to keep the public informed about TC Energy’s proposed pumped storage hydroelectric project on the 4th Canadian Division Training Base in Meaford, according to volunteer Pat Zita.
“Save Georgian Bay is all about creating awareness,” he said. “Our volunteers have been using their own money to finance such basic things as printing, information sessions, and mailings to inform our community about this project. We have incurred costs for legal advice to help file information required under the Freedom of Information Act and Access to Information Act. These things cost money. TC Energy has infinite resources. We are a mere group of concerned citizens trying to learn about this proposal and share what we learn with others. We have had many community members ask how they can help. One way of helping us is to share the actual cost that we have and will continue to incur.”
Sunday’s dip corresponded with the International Polar Bear Day, a day that is designated to raise awareness of the impact of global warming and reduced sea ice on polar bear populations. “Meaford is the first anywhere in the world to celebrate Polar Bear Day with a plunge,” Zita said.
Each dipper was given advice in advance on to how to prepare for the dip and how to handle the dip during the event; advice such as cold showers and ice baths in the weeks leading up to the event; a reminder to focus on breathing; to wear wet suit gloves, booties, and a toque; to have warm, loose layered clothing available to change into and at least two towels to dry off with; and a warning to stay in the water no more than four minutes.
For more information and to donate, go to savegeorgianbay.ca.