Crazy Polar Bear Dippers are a Main Reason Why Rwanda Will Get Clean Water

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The Courage Brothers’ Annual Polar Bear Dip has raised over $420,000 for communities in need

Call them crazy if you want, but every New Year’s day nearly 500 people jump into Lake Ontario’s icy-cold water for one purpose – to raise money in support of fresh water projects in developing countries around the world.

Dressed in just about anything from bikinis, tartan skirts and clown outfits to costumes designed with such imagination that it can leave you awestruck, these dippers sacrifice themselves each year to help others.

“Every year I am absolutely amazed at the sacrifices these dippers make – they pay $25.00 just for the right to enter, then they raise hundreds of dollars by getting people to sponsor them,” says Todd Courage, one of the event co-founders. “One of our dippers last year raised over $1,000 – one can only imagine the effort that took.”

Why people do the Dip is anyone’s guess. It could be that some merely want to be a part of the carnival-like atmosphere and to have a good time. Others may be participating just to raise money to help the Courage Brothers’ Polar Bear Dip reach their goal of providing clean water solutions for underdeveloped countries around the world – but whichever it is, one thing is sure, they all do it with enthusiasm and a passion that seldom seen. One only needs to attend an event to witness the excitement.

“One of Oakville’s local businessman, John Vellinga, emailed his friends and business associates asking them to donate, telling them that he’ll match whatever they give,” says Trent Courage. “He raised nearly $800 – not bad considering that he only decided to do the dip a couple of days before the event.”

Sacrificing has many faces, as some dippers travel literally miles to attend the event. Take for example Audley, who for the past two years has traveled from Montreal just to make the Dip, and says he plans on never missing one.

“The reality is this; without our dippers support and backing, The Courage Brothers’ Polar Bear Dip would accomplish very little,” says Todd. “And I can assure you, having just visited Rwanda this past summer, the people from the Umutara region, thank everyone who takes the plunge here on January 1.”

The Courage Brothers’ Polar Bear Dip for World Vision is in their 25th year. They hope to raise over $60,000.00 on January 1, and to make this possible they are hoping that more people will get involved and make donations. For more information, go to

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Peter Turkington
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