swimming lake ontario

People are still swimming in Lake Ontario during extreme winter weather in Toronto

Toronto is home to a number of die-hard swimmers who brave the cold each winter to reap the benefits of swimming in near-frozen Lake Ontario, and even this week's extreme cold and snowy weather isn't stopping them from taking a dip. 

The city has seen a week filled with historic snowfalls, extreme weather warnings, frigid winds and chillingly cold temperatures, but residents like Delphine AO and other members of the SwimOP group have nonetheless been stripping down to their bathing suits and submerging themselves in the icy cold waters of Lake Ontario.

"I go to the lake at least two or three times a week, do cold showers or even snow dips," Delphine told blogTO. "I even went there on Monday."

Indeed, even Monday's historic blizzard couldn't keep her out of the water. 

Originally from France, Delphine arrived in Toronto with her husband in March 2020 after living in Ghana for 10 years. After falling into a depression last winter as a result of being isolated due to the pandemic, she decided this winter would be different. 

She then discovered Wim Hof, a Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, which led her to start jumping in the lake in the middle of winter.

"I love water and challenges, so I took it as a challenge, not knowing it would actually change my life," she said.

She immediately noticed her depression and anxiety fading away, and now she says she's "totally addicted."

The activity helped her meet people and make friends in a new city, it gave her more energy and helped improve her sleep. It also helped her learn how to be in the present, which she says has made her a happier person overall, and it allows her to connect with nature. 

Even the extreme cold weather in Toronto today can't keep her, or her fellow swimmers, away from the water.

"Even today with cold temperatures, we are going," she said. "No bad weather for a swim!"

Lead photo by

Phil Marion

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