Langley residents brave the cold for annual Polar Bear Swim

”Dorothy Humberstone, a 76-year-old resident of Fort Langley, takes the polar bear swim challenge in the Bedford Channel waters. Humberstone has been participating in the event for years and brought dozens of family members to join her this year.”Dorothy Humberstone, a 76-year-old resident of Fort Langley, takes the polar bear swim challenge in the Bedford Channel waters. Humberstone has been participating in the event for years and brought dozens of family members to join her this year.
Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Langley residents braved the cold on Jan. 1 to participate in the annual Polar Bear Swim in the Bedford Channel waters. The event, which has grown in popularity over the years, brings together both seasoned participants and newcomers for a chance to embrace the cold and make memories together. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Photographer Lou Fasullo estimated close to 200 people decided to take the plunge this New Year’s Day at Fort Langley’s Polar Bear event, with ages ranging from 6 to 66. (Lou Fasullo/Special to Langley Advance Times) Photographer Lou Fasullo estimated close to 200 people decided to take the plunge this New Year’s Day at Fort Langley’s Polar Bear event, with ages ranging from 6 to 66. (Lou Fasullo/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Fort Langley’s unofficial Polar Bear Swim returned on Sunday, Jan. 1, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Among the participants was Dorothy Humberstone, a 76-year-old resident of Fort Langley who has been taking the polar bear swim challenge in the community ever since it started. Prior to that, Humberstone had taken the annual Jan. 1 dip in White Rock.

“It’s just fun and adventurous,” Humberstone said of the polar bear swim.

This year, she brought “dozens” of family members to join her in the chilly Bedford Channel waters.

Justin McQueen, a Langley resident, also participated in the polar bear swim with his kids Monroe, 7, Parker, 13, and 10-year-old Elle. The event has become a family tradition for the McQueens, with young Monroe leading the way this year as the first one from the family to brave the icy waters.

After the dip, Justin said he enjoyed the experience and making memories with his family. He added that they will be back next year and their toddler might join them as well.

Photographer Lou Fasullo estimated close to 200 people decided to take the plunge this New Year’s Day at Fort Langley’s Polar Bear event, with ages ranging from 6 to 66. (Lou Fasullo/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Photographer Lou Fasullo estimated close to 200 people decided to take the plunge this New Year’s Day at Fort Langley’s Polar Bear event, with ages ranging from 6 to 66. (Lou Fasullo/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Nicole Nelson and her family and friends also took part in the polar bear swim. This wasn’t their first time, and they were excited to have the event return to Langley after two years of absence. Eleven-year-old Sam was the first one from the group to hit the frigid waters. He said his friend encouraged him to join, while 10-year-old Isaiah joked that his mom had dragged him to the event. The group agreed that the experience was “refreshing,” with Sam saying it was like sitting on ice cubes. They hope to participate again in the future.

Langley resident Darian Kovacs and some friends started the loosely-organized annual polar bear swim event in 2014, and it has grown over the years, drawing crowds in the hundreds before the pandemic hit. This year, too close to hundred people participated.

Fort Langley’s annual Polar Bear Swim brought together both seasoned participants and newcomers. From 76-year-old Dorothy Humberstone, who has been taking the polar bear challenge in Fort Langley for years, to families making it a tradition, the event was a chance for people to embrace the cold and make memories together.

With the event’s growing popularity over the years, it is likely that the polar bear swim will continue to be a beloved tradition in Fort Langley for years to come.

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