It took a record low to reach a fundraising high!

It was record-breaking cold yet deceptively sunny day in Toronto, with the wind chill making it feel like minus 19 degrees Celsius.
On February 26, twenty inspired, courageous or what-some-would-call-crazy Arctic crusaders, including yours truly, huddled together on the frozen and ice-covered sand at Toronto’s Balmy Beach Club.  While there was absolutely nothing balmy about the temperature, we were clad in our most summery beach weather attire.

Ontario Power Authority
The team from Ontario Power Authority before the dip. © James Carpenter / WWF-Canada

And straight ahead, not far from the shore, we stared directly at what looked like a giant iceberg. It was truly fitting that the spot we had gathered at the foot of Lake Ontario, for our first ever polar dip in support of WWF’s Arctic conservation efforts, was looking and feeling a whole lot like the Arctic!
HP Canada
HP Canada’s Lloyd Bryant and Frances Edmonds, the first to take the plunge. © James Carpenter / WWF-Canada

Before anyone had a chance to lose their resolve, HP Canada’s fearless leaders literally took the plunge. And they were quickly followed by a group of executives and green champions from RSA Canada, the Ontario Power Authority and WWF.
Polar Bear Dip
The teams from RSA Canada and Ontario Power Authority “basking” in Lake Ontario. © James Carpenter / WWF-Canada

I’m certain I speak on behalf of all the other dippers when I say there is nothing like the rush of plunging into the freezing lake smack dab in the middle of winter.
And not only did we all live to tell the story, this event – along with many other corporate and employee engagement initiatives that took place leading up to and during Polar Bear Week – is on track to raise over $100,000 for WWF’s Arctic conservation efforts.
Some of these other fun and creative corporate and employee fundraising activities included:

  • DraftFCB’s “Arctic Escape” game, in which employee volunteers, including their CEO, had to spend an hour on their office iceberg unless they could raise $50.
  • Brookfield Johnson Controls hosted a screening of the documentary Chasing Ice, along with a hot chocolate and bake sale.
  • Bullfrog Power organized a combination of employee activities including a pot luck, bake sale and 50/50 draw.
  • And here at WWF, we had a staff trivia challenge, “Freezin’ for a Reason” ice cream sundae bar, and “Pass the Polar Bear” traveling mascot to spread the word and fundraise.

DraftFCB’s CEO waiting to be “rescued” from the iceberg. © DraftFCB

WWF Canada
WWF staff with their “Freezin’ for a Reason” ice cream masterpieces. © Adrienne Lo / WWF-Canada

It’s not too late to take action and help us give life in the Arctic a healthy future. Check out the Polar Bear Week toolkit for more fun ideas and tools to help you organize your own Arctic and polar bear fundraiser!
To top it all off, all donations made to WWF’s Arctic conservation work is matched dollar-for-dollar by Coca-Cola until March 15, 2014, to a maximum of $1 million USD (Canada and U.S. only).