It couldn’t have been a better March day for the annual Sudbury Polar Plunge at Ramsey Lake, with the temperature hovering north of freezing as more than 100 people hopped into the water.
First up was Greater Sudbury Police Service Chief Paul Pedersen, who kicked off the police-organized event in uniform.
“It feels invigorating,” he told Sudbury.com approximately a half-hour later, after warming up. “You go in the water, it’s refreshing, you come out to cheers, it’s amazing; it really is amazing.”
Several participants wore costumes while taking the plunge, including William Lang, who dressed as a hot dog, and Luca Filice and Jacob Marano, who dressed as Mario and Luigi, respectively.
Many people taking part in the plunge rushed toward waiting saunas afterward to warm up.
This is the first public Sudbury Polar Plunge in a couple of years, with the pandemic forcing police to limit the scope of the annual event to filming Pedersen hop into the frozen lake behind his house.
It was nice seeing a crowd out again, he said, adding that in addition to it being a fun event it’s also a fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
It’s the charity of choice for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, and Pedersen said, “It’s just the right thing to do.”
During a media conference in January announcing this year’s event, Pedersen noted that research has show that people with intellectual disabilities who participate in Special Olympics are 49 per cent less likely to develop depression compared to non-participants.
“You guys feel happier when you're doing sport, right?” he said. “Everybody does, and Special Olympics relies on these fundraising initiatives to support the program."
As of Saturday afternoon, the 2023 Greater Sudbury Polar Plunge had raised $31,145, surpassing their goal of $30,000. Donations can still be pledged by clicking here.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.