The Big Swim fundraiser splashes down in Cape Breton in 2021

·2 min read

An annual long-distance swimming event that raises money for a Nova Scotia camp for kids living with chronic illnesses will be calling Cape Breton home in 2021.

Typically, the Big Swim takes place in the Northumberland Strait on a 16-kilometre stretch between Cape Jourimain, N.B., and Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.

This year, the swim will be taking place in August in the Bras d'Or Lake, starting and ending in Baddeck. Swimmers will have the choice between an eight-kilometre or 12-kilometre swim that follows a triangle formation.

The event is put on by Give to Live, a charity that raises money for various causes through physical fitness events. Beth Hamilton, the co-chair of the Big Swim, said the committee decided that if they wanted to still hold the event they would host it in their home province of Nova Scotia.

"We wanted to make things as safe as we can and mitigate all the movement as much as we can inside of our Atlantic region," said Hamilton.

The charitable event raises money for Brigadoon Village, a camp for kids with chronic illnesses located in Aylesford, N.S.

There are typically about 50 swimmers that sign up for the event, along with 50 kayakers who follow along with the swimmers for support.

Route will allow them to follow regulations

Along with the participants there are many volunteers on each beach and in the water to ensure the safest environment for the swimmers and kayakers.

Hamilton said the route in Baddeck will enable them to have fewer people and still follow the regulations.

"It will make sure that we're not gathering in large groups should we not be allowed to and really ensuring that we still have a great experience," said Hamilton.

Hamilton hopes that since the route is not as long as the one in the Northumberland Strait, and the waters not as rough, that some people who have never participated before will sign up.

She said they are excited for their first Bras d'Or Lake swim, but this is only temporary and they will eventually return to the Northumberland Strait.

"It's a pretty special event and I think our entire committee really feels that way," said Hamilton.

Signup for the Big Swim opens up online on Feb. 15. The event is scheduled to take place on Aug. 8.