Taking Plunge for Athletes

By Martin Blake, Toronto Police Service Published: 10:23 a.m. January 24, 2017

A group of about 50 people raised around $10,000 for Special Olympics Ontario by bravely wading into Lake Ontario waters over the weekend.

People walking in water
Brave Polar Plungers emerge from the water at Woodbine Beach

It was the first Toronto Polar Plunge in support of Special Olympics Ontario at Woodbine beach on Saturday, January 21, a new tradition for the Service, which fundraises for athletes each year. 

"The Toronto Police have had such a long-standing relationship with the Special Olympics through the Law Enforcement Torch Run," said Acting Superintendent David Rydzik of the annual run that has wound its way through downtown Toronto since 1987. "It’s all about raising money for those great kids and it gives that opportunity to go out and compete in a competitive sport."

Special Olympics Ontario Polar Plunge at Woodbine Beach

Australian Brenadan Shakes took the plunge as an opportunity to earn some Canadian credibility. 

“I thought it was a good idea to make myself truly Canadian,” Shakes said. “Back home it’s 30 degrees (Celsius) and it’s warm and balmy and to come here it’s near zero and the water’s just the same I thought I had to do it.”  


Shakes said Special Olympics Ontario is a great cause that needs Toronto's support.

A group of people standing together
Chief Mark Saunders with Special Olympics Athletes before the plunge
A group of people in costumes on a beach
Service members with costumed plungers
Two men and one women in TPS toques standing in the water
Marine officers were on hand to ensure everyone got safely in and out of the water
TPS crest watermark