82-year-old Toronto man takes a morning dip in Lake Ontario every day of the year
Every day, Christopher Hope makes his way down Silver Birch Avenue to Lake Ontario in his swim cap and bathrobe at 7:50 a.m., like clockwork.
The 82-year-old comes for a dip in the sometimes icy water to start his day, a morning routine he's been swearing by since last February given his home is just a two-minute walk from the beach.
"I get up, make my bed, get my swimsuit and dressing gown on, and walk down to the beach," Hope told blogTO.
The weather isn't a factor — even snow or wind storms won't stop him from his 10-minute swim.
"There's no drama involved once you get the mind over matter bit over with," he says. "When it's windy and you've got five-foot waves, it takes a lot of courage, but you just do it."
Hope was introduced to the activity through a friend at the Toronto Windsurfing Club, though now he usually enjoys it as a solitary sport.
"Nine times out of 10, I have the beach to myself," he says.
"In the summer I swim but in these cold temperatures, I really just enjoy walking slowly through the water. I'm usually walking straight toward the sunrise and it's a lovely feeling, really is."
Usually leading an incredibly active lifestyle, Hope picked up the activity as a way to keep busy after the pandemic put his hobbies on hold and cancelled three trips to The Azores, Dubai and The Galapagos.
"It's about enjoying what's available," he said.
He's usually scuba diving, windsurfing, helicopter skiing, snowboarding, or sailing. He's even checked Kilimanjaro off his bucket list and completed a white water canoe trek all the way from the Arctic Circle to the Arctic Ocean.
"I just like the outdoors and I define myself by my activities," Hope says.
His zest for life and proclivity for what some may consider to be extreme activities stems from a very simple philosophy.
"There's nowhere else more beautiful than this world so enjoy every second, that's what I do. Every day is the happiest day of my life. I'm just enjoying myself," he says.
"I don't know if anyone else is walking into ice-cold water and saying it's fun, but that's me."
Hope encourages others to try a winter dip for themselves.
"There are so many people who don't actually go out or use the water and it's really sad. I wish they would," he says. "If you're not an outdoors person, I'd say, 'Give it another try.'"
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