Can you bear it: Toronto’s first Polar Plunge

Torontonians plunge in icy water at Woodbine Beach on Saturday for good cause

Plungers huddle around and keep warm with an aluminum foil blankets
Participants keep warm in aluminum foil blankets at the Polar Plunge in Toronto on Saturday at Woodbine Beach. Rhianne Campbell/Toronto Observer

The Law Enforcement Torch Run held its 30th annual Polar Plunge for the first time in Toronto on Saturday, at Woodbine Beach.

Members of the Toronto police service, Special Olympics Ontario and the general public came out to participate in the event.

Police chief Mark Saunders, began the ceremony with opening remarks, he expressed gratitude to organizers and participants of the event.

“This is the first but it won’t be the last,” he said.

The event raised close to $10,000 for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which will be held on June 8th.

“I think it’s a fantastic thing, and it’s an awareness piece, I think It covered all of the aspects that we were looking for,” Saunders said.

Mike Puterbaugh, Toronto police sergeant, and coordinator of the torch run, took the plunge. He didn’t find it to be that bad.

“[The Special Olympics], it’s more of a being, in the sense of; I’ve been involved helping out and I just fell in love with it… it just brings joy, and that’s the whole idea,” he said.

Quinn Martin, a medalist swimmer for the Special Olympics, did not take the plunge but was a judge for the costume contest that was a part of the games.

He said he plans to come out again next year to support his friends at the organization.

Quinn’s father, Eric Martin, said the Special Olympics helped Quinn to make new friends and gain confidence.

Eric adopted Quinn when he was nine years old. He was nonverbal and has autism.

“When we first met, he was a non-swimmer. He would wear a life jacket and hold onto me in the pool,” Martin said.

“it’s been a huge accomplishment, not just athletically but socially, he’s got the friends and the activities he takes part in.”

There were over 45 participants in this year’s Polar Plunge in Toronto. The Special Olympics Ontario, raises money for the Torch Run to remove all financial barriers that effect children with disabilities.

“Everyone had a lot of fun. It was great — great cause, great event. And I think next year you’re going to see an amazing turn out,” Saunders said.

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Posted: Jan 28 2017 12:27 pm
Filed under: News