A freezing cold dip

Chantelle Deacon

It was definitely well below freezing on Sunday but that didn't stop people from joining in on the fifth annual Polar Bear Swim.    

It took hours to get through the ice on Kalmalka Lake and scoop a portion of it out but eventually, the mission was accomplished and the swim could commence.

"We were not expecting the ice," said Angela Yablonski, executive director of the Zimbabwe Project. "Yesterday we had the fire department down assessing the situation and it looked great so we weren't worried."

"Then this morning we woke up and there was just enough to make that fine layer of ice over the lake this morning."

Despite the ice, the turnout was huge for the Winter Carnival event and it's all for a great cause.

"We really partnered with several different organizations to keep some of the money local and then, of course, some of the money is going to the Zimbabwe Project where we do self-sustaining businesses in rural villages," Yablonski said.

The swim now partners with local schools and charities and half of the money raised stays in the Vernon Community.

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