Hundreds of people braved the icy Ottawa River Tuesday afternoon at the third annual Great Canadian Chill.

“It was cold!! But it was good, all for a good cause,” said one participant.

Proceeds from event, sponsored by Sears, go to children’s cancer research.  

"50 per cent of the proceeds to go to a national Sears Charitable Foundation and the other 50 per cent stays local here and our local is CHEO,” said Patti Matchim, the general manager of Sears at St. Laurent Shopping Centre.

“[It’s] fantastic, great way to celebrate the New Year. It's not as bad as cancer that's for sure," said one man taking the plunge.

This event is a tradition for many. Some who have done the polar dip in the past said Tuesday’s dip was much colder than they expected.

“Three years ago we did it there was green grass. Last year it was 1 degree or at least -1. Today -15, it's not the best it's ever been," said Wesley Rodney.

"I did it last year, ya. Much colder this year. Oh my God,” said one woman.

Regardless of the temperature, many participants said there is no cooler way to celebrate the start of a brand new year.

"It’s just something to do for fun every year…Raise money for good charities and get together at a special time of year,” said David Fortier, who has participated for all three years of the event.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Katie Griffin