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Meet Two Canadian Change Makers

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courage brothers and their families at the annual polar bear dip

Trent and Todd Courage and their kids at the annual Polar Bear Dip. 

polar bear dipper in the ice cold lake on new year's day

A Polar Bear Dipper revels in the icy waters at Canada's largest charity polar bear dip.

What started in 1985 as a way to shake the cobwebs off after New Year’s Eve has now grown into a family affair for the Courage clan. Gaye Courage, the “Queen Polar Bear” and mother to Co-Founders Todd and Trent, was the one who instigated the whole thing when she told her boys to “go jump in the lake”. Today Gaye joins the family on New Year’s Day to take part on the largest charitable polar bear dip in Canada.

As the years have gone by and the Dip has grown, so too has the Courage family participation. No longer is the event just a way to clear the mind on New Year’s Day. Today Todd and Trent’s children also join in the fun.  Ranging in age from seven to eighteen, the event is now three-generational. The Courage children enjoy the Dip as much as their fathers and grandmother. 

“It has been something we have done since I can remember,” said 18-year old Jenna Courage, the eldest of the Todd Courage’s children. “And my friends join in the fun and look forward to it as much as I do.”

The Courage’s are not the only ones who have made this a family New Year’s Day tradition.  As hundreds of dippers take to the water, both young and young-at-heart are enjoying the fun and festive atmosphere at Coronation Park. 

“We see more and more families take part every year.  It is becoming an annual family tradition for many people, not just my family.  I guess we aren’t the only ones who like to do something a little crazy together,” said Trent Courage.


With over $1 million raised to support clean water projects, the Courage Polar Bear Dip is about more than just having fun. Once again the Dip will support clean water projects through World Vision Canada; this year supporting the Rwanda: Right to Clean Water project in Gashora and Rugarama. 

It is easier than ever to sign up, and invite friends to be part of your dip adventure. You can also text COURAGE to 45678 to quickly donate $5 to the Courage Polar Bear Dip. For more information, visit www.polarbeardip.ca.

If you’re not up for braving icy waters, you can still make a difference; join thousands of Canadian change makers by sponsoring a child for just $39 a month. Learn more about how YOU can help break the cycle of poverty.

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