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Authors get chilly for charity

This year marks the 250th anniversary of Scottish poet Robert Burns’s birth, and to mark the occasion, a group of Canadian writers and media luminaries will be taking a dip in frigid Lake Ontario. Margaret Atwood, Shelagh Rogers, Ken McGoogan, and Bill Lishman, among others, will be on hand to either take the plunge or lend support.

The event, which takes place at 1 p.m. on January 24 at the A.E. Crookes Headland in Port Credit, is to raise money for Mississauga’s EcoSource, a group that works in schools and throughout the Peel Region community to educate youth on sustainable living and environmental awareness.

The Polar Bear dip’s crazy brave participants will take a cold-water swim in Lake Ontario; the saner others, such as publisher Doug Gibson and author Graeme Gibson, will be on hand to pass out drams of single malt scotch. Graeme Gibson, who appears very level-headed in the event’s press release, says, “Cold water swimming is madness of course, but I am very good at passing out drams.” Musician Tom Barlow, who is participating in the swim as well as playing at the afterparty at the local Harp pub, says that it “just seems like the Canadian thing to do.”