Vancouver Polar Bear Swim attracts large crowd to English Bay

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      There's still an hour to go before this year's Vancouver Polar Bear Swim, but already large crowds are gathering at English Bay.

      No doubt, one of the reasons is the clear skies.

      There's also an absence of rain or snow.

      And it's a balmy 5 °C with winds of just eight kilometres per hour.

      The 99th annual swim begins at 2:30 p.m. and the park board is advising people not to remain in the water for longer than 15 minutes.

      Anyone who attends the event is being encouraged to bring nonperishable food or cash for the Vancouver Food Bank.