By Tracey Arial
Last Saturday, 275 people jumped into the St. Lawrence River to raise $60,000 for the Special Olympics athletes.
The 2015 Polar Bear Plunge took place at 1 p.m. at the Verdun Marina. Organized by the Law Enforcement Torch Run committee, the event attracted more than 20 teams.
To make it happen, the committee arranged for a square hole to be dug in the ice that was large enough for four people to jump in at once. The icy water was five feet deep to allow people enough depth to cover most of their bodies. Four ladders were attached to the ice to make sure the jumpers could get out of the water quickly.
Emergency personnel were on hand to make sure that no one got hurt. A heated tent next to the hole enabled teams to wait for their buddies in relative comfort.
More than 60 of the jumpers represented police services, including Montreal, the SQ and the RCMP. Four wore their full dress uniforms. Montreal Police Chief Marc Parent jumped in with a team of police chiefs.
Scotiabank recruited 40 people, includeing an accountant who wore a suit and tie. The RCMP and the SQ also had teams. The Verdun borough contributed personnel to staff the event, at a cost of $7,650.37. It also had two teams of more than 25 people making the plunge into the cold water. Mayor Jean-Francois Parenteau recruited 18 people to jump with him, including Councillors Manon Gauthier, Alain Vaillancourt, Sterling Downey, Luc Gagnon and Marie-Andrée Mauger plus friends, family and a Suburban reporter. Administrators also had their own team.
This was the eighth year the annual event took place on the island of Montreal. For the previous five years, the event took place in Pointe Claire.
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