SCUGOG: While it would be a strange sight any other time of year, visitors to Port Perry's Palmer Park on Feb. 8 can expect to see friendly polar bears and brave souls in various costumes waiting to jump into the frigid waters of Lake Scugog.
Now in its seventh year, the Auxiliary To Lakeridge Health Port Perry’s Polar Plunge returns next month and once again promises to deliver a dose of frosty fun for a good cause.
This year, the plunge will move to the afternoon from the morning, a change which Auxiliary member Barb Brady said will hopefully result in more spectators.
"We’re hoping to get a big crowd this year," said Ms. Brady of the time change.
Each year, an average of 37 brave plungers don their best costumes and take the mid-winter dip. According to the auxiliary, more than $76,000 has been raised this way since the event started in 2008, benefitting Lakeridge Health Port Perry through the purchase of new hospital equipment. The organizers - which include Ms. Brady, Yvonne Duhig, Marilyn Lauricella, Mary Jane Inglis, Ruth Spearing, Joyce Rice, Mag Brown, Anne Wright and Wendy Welfle - hope to make this year’s plunge the best yet as they raise funds toward a $350,000 pledge to the Port Perry Hospital Foundation’s ‘Your Hospital, Your Future’ campaign for improvements to the hospital’s patient wing.
As in previous years, teams of plungers will have their turn in the frosty waters of Lake Scugog, followed by a warm up - this year, in hot tubs - and an awards ceremony following the plunge will be held at the Latcham Centre, with various titles up for grabs.
Plungers won’t have to worry about plugging their noses, either. According to Ms. Brady, a number of participants last year noted a strong smell after decaying matter on the lake bottom was disturbed during the 2013 plunge. This year, said Ms. Brady, the Trent-Severn Waterway will assist by placing a tarp along the lake bottom before the first plunge takes place.
Spectators won’t be bored either, with snacks such as hot chocolate and popcorn available, as well as a fish pond for young anglers. However, that won’t be all.
"We have a few surprises in store for everyone," said Ms. Brady.
For those who wish to help and stay dry, donations can be made on-line via the Auxiliary’s page on Canadahelps.org.
To sign up, pick up a brochure at Camille’s Corner Gift Shop in Lakeridge Health Port Perry or Camille’s Closet at 115 Perry St., or e-mail email@example.com.