OAKVILLE, Ont. - It's an act of Courage most people consider just plain crazy.

In temperatures of -6 C on the first day of 2009, more than 400 people have stripped down to their bathing suits and taken a running plunge into a frigid Lake Ontario.

Todd and Trent Courage, brothers from Oakville, Ont., organized the event, which has grown to become the largest charitable polar bear dip in Canada.

Participants in the 24th annual New Year's Day tradition are hoping to raise $60,000 for World Vision to help construct water systems in Rwanda.

More than $380,000 has been raised to provide clean water in developing countries since the Courage brothers staged their first dip in 1985.

Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane led the countdown for the Oakville event, while other swimmers braved icy water in places including Toronto, Vancouver and at New York's Coney Island.

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