What do you know about Winnipeg, the perennial little brother of Canada? If you’re a hockey fan, you know of the Winnipeg Jets, a team that left Canada in 1996, only to return in 2011 to a nearly apoplectic fan base. You might know that Winnie the Pooh is named after Winnipeg. But perhaps the most important fact about Winnipeg, the frigid and flat city of 800,000 people, is that it is also the Slurpee capital of the world.
Yes, Slurpee. The frozen beverage found at 7-Eleven is enjoyed most by people who are used to wearing two pairs of gloves in the winter.
Located nearly smack in the middle of Canada, the heartland of the prairies, Winnipeg is an underdog of a city. Between the mosquitoes attacking in the summer, and the frostbite that can make your toes fall off in the winter, Winnipeg produces some hardened, scrappy, Slurpee lovers.
Winnipeg's obsession with Slurpees might make sense in the summer, when about 40% of Slurpees are sold. But hometown isn’t exactly blessed with a balmy climate. Winters are long and hard in the prairies. Temperatures consistently stick around minus 20 degrees Celsius ( minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) for months at a time, and it’s not unusual to get lows into the minus 30s or 40s. Snow starts falling in October and doesn’t stop until at least April.
What I’m saying is, it’s cold.
Even then, in the middle of winter, you might stop in at 7-Eleven (or “Sev,” as we would say back home) for a Slurpee. Teeth chattering in the cold, with multiple scarves and layers on to block out the wind, Winnipeggers are proud of their Slurpee title. There’s something tough-as-nails about defiantly saying ‘yeah, we know it’s cold here. We hear the jokes. And guess what? We’re going to make ourselves even colder.’