SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Eight-hundred Canadians kick off New Year at largest charity Polar Bear Dip

OAKVILLE, ON, Jan. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Eight-hundred Canadians of all ages kicked off the New Year by running into the cold water of Lake Ontario at the Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville.  The temperature was  -6 degrees, colder with the wind chill,  and swimmers braved  frigid water only slightly above freezing.

"I decided to do the dip to raise money for World Vision and I had a friend who did it last year who had a lot of fun," says Israel Lomos, 16, of Oakville. "I think it'll be rewarding and it's a great way to start the New Year!"

This family event attracted 'dippers' from four to 74, many of whom came dressed in costumes ranging from swamp monsters to Santa.  Oakville councillors took the plunge along with members of the Toronto Rock Blaine Manning and Patrick Merrill.

This year the dippers raised more than $120,000 helping the dip pass a major milestone to become Canada's first million-dollar dip for charity. It has now raised more than $1 million for clean water projects since teaming up with World Vision in 1995.

"After visiting Rwanda a few years ago and observing the tremendous need for clean water, and then seeing the difference in communities where donations to World Vision are at work, I am beyond ecstatic," says Trent Courage.  "This isn't just $120,000, it means the building of borehole wells, improved sanitation facilities, teaching of proper hygiene and sanitation practices and the planting of vegetable and fruit trees that will protect the environment and provide income to maintain the new wells."

It is also the first year the dip went international - with long-time dipper Scott Mills organizing a sister dip in Seattle.

Twitter: #milliondollardip @polarbeardip
Web: www.polarbeardip.ca or www.worldvision.ca

World Vision is a leading Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by our Christian values, we are dedicated to working with the world's most vulnerable people. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

SOURCE Courage Polar Bear Dip

Video with caption: "Eight-hundred Canadians took part in the Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, ON on January 1, 2013. This year they raised more than $120,000 for World Vision Water projects, making the total funds this annual event has raised more than $1 million.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20130101_C3670_VIDEO_EN_22245.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20130101_C3670_PHOTO_EN_22245.jpg&clientName=Courage%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip&caption=Eight%2Dhundred%20Canadians%20took%20part%20in%20the%20Courage%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip%20in%20Oakville%2C%20ON%20on%20January%201%2C%202013%2E%20This%20year%20they%20raised%20more%20than%20%24120%2C000%20for%20World%20Vision%20Water%20projects%2C%20making%20the%20total%20funds%20this%20annual%20event%20has%20raised%20more%20than%20%241%20million%2E&title=COURAGE%20POLAR%20BEAR%20DIP%20%2D%20Eight%2Dhundred%20Canadians%20kick%20off%20New%20Year%20at%20largest%20charity%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip&headline=Eight%2Dhundred%20Canadians%20kick%20off%20New%20Year%20at%20largest%20charity%20Polar%20Bear%20Dip

Image with caption: "This is the first year the Courage Polar Bear Dip went international. On January 1, 2013 three repeat dippers went into the water of the Nooksack River near Deming, Washington. From left to right Adam Mills, 12, Scott Mills, 45, and Sarah Mills, 10. (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130101_C3670_PHOTO_EN_22241.jpg

Image with caption: "On January 1, 2013 hundreds of Canadians lined up on a snowy beach in Oakville, ON, to take part in the Courage Polar Bear Dip. This year the event raised more than $120,000 for World Vision water projects in Rwanda, making the total funds this annual event has raised more than $1 million (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130101_C3670_PHOTO_EN_22244.jpg

Image with caption: "Charlie Guy and Miriam Booy (front left and right); brave the cold water of Lake Ontario along with hundreds of others. They took part in the 28th annual Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, ON; this event raises money for World Vision water projects. (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130101_C3670_PHOTO_EN_22243.jpg

Image with caption: "From left to right World Vision Executive Vice President Michael Messenger, Courage Polar Bear Dip co-founder Trent Courage, original Courage Polar Bear Dipper Gaye Courage and event co-founder Todd Courage before they took the plunge at Coronation Park in Oakville, ON (CNW Group/Courage Polar Bear Dip)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130101_C3670_PHOTO_EN_22242.jpg

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