Deep Cove's annual Penguin Plunge to return after two year break

On New Year’s Day forty-one years ago, a courageous crowd gathered to celebrate the new year by plunging themselves into the icy depths by Deep Cove off Panorama Park.

The Deep Cove Penguin Plunge has since become an annual tradition, with hundreds of adventurous individuals flocking to the North Vancouver park each year - and, this Jan. 1, it's back.

The event, hosted by Deep Cove Kayak and Coast Outdoors, will kick off from 12:30 p.m at the park. Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars, a high-energy Louisiana-inspired blues act, will be crafting the tunes, a bonfire will be blazing, and a BBQ will be up and running to ensure everyone is sufficiently satiated.

The plunge itself will take place at 2 p.m sharp, following the annual, hotly-anticipated costume parade at 1:30 p.m.

“It’s just so fun getting the community together and being able to see everyone. It’s such a fresh start to the year and, after such an unusual time, this is a nice way to come back to a traditional marker and start the year properly,” said Erian Baxter, owner of Deep Cove Kayak.

It is a welcome return for the festive event, which for two years has been on hiatus, hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 and 2021 organizers encouraged dippers to carry out the tradition virtually, with followers taking part at home and sharing their videos and photos on social media.

“It has been two years of doing it in our backyards and going into Rubbermaids and bathing pools and showers and stuff like that, so it’s great to be doing it in real life with a bonfire and a band and a barbecue,” said Baxter.

As with previous years, all donations will go towards Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News