Two provincial employees ignored a few “floatables” and swam across the Halifax Harbour yesterday to raise money for the United Way of Canada.
David Darrow, deputy minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, challenged his department to raise $2,500 to see himself and Kevin Doran, the department’s webmaster, take a plunge into the harbour.
“I just woke up one day and thought it would be a good idea,” Darrow said, still dripping water from his face.
That was two years ago. But after this year’s harbour cleanup the timing felt right.
The pair started at the Woodside Ferry Terminal in Dartmouth and ended at Bishops Landing in Halifax, about a three-kilometre distance.
About 150 people cheered and clapped as the two men reached their hands out to the dock to finish the crossing.
Aside from one floatable Darrow encountered after about 100 metres, they both agreed the harbour was clean, clear and even warm.
“The water is great, the wind is fine and the swim was great,” said Doran after getting rid of his bathing cap.
Both men agreed they would brave the harbour waters again in a heartbeat.
“I would definitely do it again, but we’ll aim for next year,” said Darrow, who only stopped once during the crossing to switch up his leaky goggles.
The department is a frequent supporter of the United Way, which raises money for local groups that address community issues.
Prospect of their own dip has observers divided
Haligonians watching David Darrow and Kevin Doran swim across the harbour yesterday had mixed feeling about whether they’d get their feet wet in the body of water.
“I think I’d give it a try for a good cause. It’d have to be for a good cause.”
– Nancy Rondeaux, Halifax
“I think I would, but I would have to practice, and I’d probably have a wet suit.”
– Marc Gaudet, Halifax
“No. I would not unless somebody was drowning, but besides that no.”
– Jayne MacDonald, Halifax
“Maybe I would for the right cause. But I’d have to have lots of preparation.”
– Gail Keeping, Halifax
• Earlier this month, local marathon swimmer Kristin Roe braved the Halifax Harbour waters and completed a crossing to raise awareness and money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Nova Scotia Gambia Association.
• Roe went for her harbour dip only two weeks after returning from swimming the English Channel, a 35-kilometre swim she completed for the same charities. She completed her crossing in about 30 minutes.