Fundraiser will see Powassan women run into freezing water at Hydro Pond

·4 min read

It's billed as the Powassan Plunge and it's a fundraiser two Powassan women have created to raise money for recreational infrastructure work.

Kelsey Ellis and Kathie Hogan are promising to run into Hydro Pond once there's enough open water regardless how much money is raised.

However Hogan, the events coordinator at 250 Clark, says if the community can raise $5,000 then Mayor Peter McIsaac will also take a dip in the ice cold water.

Hogan says all the money raised will go toward the pool in Powassan, the ball diamonds in Powassan and Trout Creek and Hydro Pond, an artificial lake created when the former Ontario Hydro put a dam on the South River about 80 years ago.

Hogan says Hydro Pond needs some tender loving care, while the pool has to be repainted in addition to getting its deck area repaired. The bleachers at both ball diamonds also need to be painted and the fences repaired.

Hogan says normally the community relies on Powassan Trivia Nights to raise money for recreational infrastructure. But COVID has put the monthly event, which Ellis and Lesley Marshall hosted, on hiatus until further notice.

With the money from past trivia nights used up, Hogan and Ellis did some brainstorming on how to replace the funds the game night normally brought in and came up with the Powassan Plunge.

Hogan believes both women should be able to take the plunge around mid April.

“The ice will soon start melting at the shoreline and as soon as there's enough open water, Kelsey and I will run in,” Hogan said.

But don't expect the women to stay in the freezing water long.

“We're going to run about 20 feet in, just enough to get wet from head to toe,” Hogan said.

“Then it's back to shore as fast as we can to hot chocolate and warm blankets. We think it should take about a minute. Yes, the cold water will be shocking, but it's for a good cause.”

To mark the occasion, both Hogan and Ellis will be wearing vintage swim suits made by Julie Gohm, the owner of the Original Bug Shirt Company in Powassan, who residents may remember made a dress covered with different sized poppies for last Remembrance Day.

Because COVID will still be lingering, Hogan says the public is asked not to show up at Hydro Pond.

“However, one of our firefighters will be there with the department drone,” Hogan said.

“He's going to record our event and then we'll put it on Facebook so it's available for people to see.”

Hogan is especially grateful the mayor has agreed to be part of Powassan Plunge.

As the women were putting the fundraiser together, Hogan sent an email to McIsaac explaining what they were planning and asking if he would be interested in taking the plunge if the community raised $5,000.

“Within a minute he responded and said he'd love to go in,” Hogan said.

“He was unhesitating. He said, 'I'm going in, it's a great idea.' That's what you like in a mayor. He embodies that spirit. I'm so appreciative to live in a town where the mayor is so much a cheerleader. It makes me really proud to live in Powassan because of it.”

But Hogan is making it clear where the mayor is concerned.

If the community wants McIsaac to run into freezing water, then it has to come up with $5,000.

“As for me and Kelsey, we'll go in even if only five cents is raised,” Hogan said.

“We'll be thrilled with whatever is raised. But if we can make Peter go in, that will be a great day. It will be classic.”

Hogan says she and Ellis will likely run into the water during the afternoon when the air temperature should be a little warmer than it is in the morning.

And she figures 20 feet is about as far as they'll run because “I guarantee you, there will still be ice on the lake that you'll be able to touch.”

Donations can be made through PayPal at or at the municipal office at 250 Clark where cash and debit will be accepted.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget