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Polar Bear Swim for Robbie Burns

On January 24, Adventure Canada will hold a Polar Bear Swim in Port Credit,
Ontario, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robbie Burns (Jan. 25, 1759). From 1 p.m. onwards, Ken will be there, along with Doug Gibson, Graeme Gibson and Margaret Atwood, dispensing drams to those in need. The anticipation alone has inspired him to poetry . . .

Robbie Burns at Port Credit

Robbie Burns was brave and bold.
He did not shrink from getting cold.

To mark his birthday, Robbie said it,
He’d take a plunge in Old Port Credit.

When mortals, trembling, said, “Let’s scram!”
Our Rabbie called for one more dram.

Then in he dove, the people swear,
And swam off like a polar bear.

No icy swim, though sages dread it,
Could keep Our Rab from Old Port Credit.
Ken McGoogan
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ken: Figured your blog deserved a comment, so my response comes here instead of via email. Thanks for the quick response -- and given your extensive background in reading and writing about Canadian literature, you might want to consider posting some thoughts on that on occasion here.

And yes I do remember writing copy on typewriters with three carbons and dictating stories over the phone so that the paper version could pass through four or five sets of hands, then get set in lead and finally get published on newsprint. In our lifetime, an amazing change.

I am certainly much, much more satisfied being a web blogger than I was working for Conrad or the Aspers.



Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.