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Shall cold acquaintance be forgot

by: Drew Anderson, About 60 people gathered at Roslyn Lake for the farewell Polar Bear Dip there on New Year's Day.

A record crowd of about 60 people gathered at the shores of Roslyn Lake at noon on New Year's Day for the last Polar Bear Dip.

The locked gates of Roslyn Lake Park proved no obstacle for the locals who participated in the 15th annual event, which rings in the New Year with a plunge into the chilly lake.

'We had to park out in front of the gates and either hop the fence or crawl through the gate bars - in true Sandy fashion,' said dipper Drew Anderson.

Naturopathic Dr. Ed Alstat, who founded the event, says the plunge - a short dip in the lake - is good for the body. It is said that arteries, mood and blood pressure are affected positively.

Dippers of all ages - from toddlers to senior citizens - took the plunge.

Roslyn Lake is expected to dry up sometime this year due to the decommissioning of the Bull Run hydroelectric project, so the dip was a 'farewell salute' to the local swimming hole. Organizers are looking to find a replacement venue for 2009.