City Centre Mirror
Hundreds of brave souls are expected to make a splash in the fight against childhood cancer in Yonge-Dundas Square on Family Day weekend.
The square will be home to the Sears Great Canadian Chill, an annual polar bear dip in which participants raise funds for SickKids and other pediatric oncology initiatives by taking a plunge into an icy pool.
The chill has typically taken place on Woodbine Beach, but organizers decided to move it downtown when the opportunity arose.
“We had always wanted to break into the London (Ontario) market but we had problems,” said Jef Moore of the Sears Great Canadian Chill team. “We finally decided to build our own custom pool and that gave us a chance to bring it to Yonge-Dundas Square.”
With five people jumping into the pool at a time, the square promises to be packed throughout Family Day weekend.
The chill has traditionally attracted everyone from adrenaline junkies to those who have been touched by cancer.
“Everyone has their own reasons for jumping in,” Moore said. “The important thing to us isn’t their reasons. It’s that they jump in.”
While the icy cold dip may be the weekend’s signature event, there will be plenty of other activities for those looking to avoid taking a plunge into freezing water.
Live bands will perform on the Yonge-Dundas Square stage throughout the weekend and there will be snowball tossing games, a Pan-Am Games activity corner, face painting and more.
“We’re estimating we’ll have about 500 people doing the dip, but we expect more than 1,000 to come to the square that weekend,” Moore said.
The Sears Great Canadian Chill will take place Sunday and Monday. For a schedule of events, to register or to make a pledge to a participant, visit www.thesearsgreatcanadianchill.ca