Calgarians welcome 2019 in freezing waters to fight human trafficking – Calgary


About 150 people took a stand against human trafficking by taking a dip in frigid waters in Calgary on New Year’s Day.

A mermaid, a dinosaur, dart boards and Santa donning short shorts took the plunge at the 10th annual Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip at Mahogany Beach Club.

Calgarians take brave dip for a good cause

Ross Weaver and Bernie Potvin, cofounders of Old Guys in Action and the Calgary Icebreaker Polar Dip, hopped in the water first to make sure the temperature was cold enough.

“The first year we did this in Discovery Ridge, there were seven of us that did it and it was -22 C, so this seems positively balmy,” Weaver said. “It’s about 4 C, sun’s out; it’s a lovely day.”

Whether the weather was nice or not, though, the water was still near the freezing point.

“There’s no getting used to it. There’s getting in, there’s getting out, and that’s it,” Weaver said.

“We’ve had people say they can’t get the smile off their faces because it’s frozen there permanently,” he added. “They have a great time.”

All the freezing raised funds for the Servants Anonymous Foundation, an organization that provides recovery programs for women and girls who are survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. As of Tuesday evening, they’re at $86,000 of their $125,000 goal.

“The average age of entering into human trafficking in Canada is 13 years old, if you can imagine that,” Weaver said. “So this is a cause that we truly believe in and we think this does great work along with Servants Anonymous Foundation.”

25% of human trafficking victims in Canada are children: StatsCan

Despite tough economic times, Calgarians are stepping up, Potvin said.

“The generosity of people is just beyond anything we can imagine,” he said.

Old Guys in Action started 12 years ago when the co-founders decided to raise funds for causes by holding marathons.

“You can’t sit there when there’s this disgusting thing going on in the world,” Potvin said. “You really can’t. You’ve got to do something.”

“A little bit of pain, a little bit of awareness… we’re not alone in feeling that we have to do something.”

Brave Calgarians ring in the new year with polar dip

At the event, Amazing Race Canada season four contestants Julie and Lowell Taylor sported ski bibs painted to say ‘Blonde Dipster’ and ‘Blind Dipster.’

“While I hate being cold, one: this is an adventure and we love adventure,” Julie said. “Two: the discomfort that we experience very temporarily here is minimal compared to what the victims of human trafficking experience constantly.”

“I won’t see the cold coming,” Lowell said. “I’m legally blind but I do have a little bit of vision right through the centre, but what I lack in sight I have a lot of vision — and our vision for helping other people, for adventure, and today, to really speak against the injustice that is going on in our country and around the world against the way people have been treating [people], women especially.”

The couple said they wished they would have done the polar dip in Yellowknife when they were on the show.

“Really glad to be here today among all these other crazy people,” Lowell said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Officials to conduct necropsy on Minke whale found dead in New Brunswick waters – New Brunswick


Officials and veterinarians are set to investigate the death of a Minke whale after its remains washed up on the shore of Grand Manan Island, N.B.

It’s the second Minke whale to be found dead off the coast of New Brunswick in the past month; the first was found off the coast of Campobello Island earlier in September.

READ MORE: Fisheries department announces new fishery closures, openings in bid to protect Right Whales

According to the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS), a necropsy will be performed on the adult female whale on Sunday.

The organization said in a Facebook post that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada originally reported the whale’s remains and assisted in transporting the corpse to a safe location for the procedure.

A spokesperson for MARS was not immediately available for comment, but Tonya Wimmer, executive director of MARS, told the CBC that it was too early to draw any conclusions or recognize any trends based on the deaths of the Minke whales, noting that the two cases are not comparable to the deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales.

At least 18 right whales died off the coasts of Canada and the United States in 2017. It’s estimated there are roughly 450 right whales left in the world, and with only 100 of them being breeding females, that number is declining.

WATCH: Dead whale falls onto pavement as crew attempts to place it in dumpster

No deaths of endangered right whales have been reported in Canadian waters in 2018, although at least two have been found dead off the coast of the United States.

Minke whales have a stable population and are considered to be of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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