It seems the 7-Eleven people are having as much fun as us. The giveaway always runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 11th and the free drink is always 7.11 ounces.
This year, a giant Slurpee was poured in Winnipeg at the new Portage Avenue store…711 litres of course.
Aubrey Windsor, a teacher with the CSI summer learning program at Dufferin School, was playing Simon Says with some of the students outside the 7-Eleven at William and Isabel.
“It’s a nice little treat for them, they get really excited about it,” Windsor said, as the rest of the 77 kids she was helping supervise were in the store.
It’s not the easiest day of the year to pour yourself a Slurpee. Kids were stacked deep in front of the machine waiting for others to finish; some experimented with flavours.
When you have a store full of very excited kids on Free Slurpee Day things happen. Crush Bubblegum seemed to be the most popular flavour as there were more blue puddles than any other colour.
Some of the area kids may have received free Slurpee coupons from Winnipeg Police officers lately. Operation Chill sees officers “ ticket” kids with free Slurpee coupons for “infractions” like small acts of kindness and wearing a bike helmet.
Constable Mitch Rochon gave out the coupons to kids in the Central Park area last summer while on bike patrol. “The kids love it, we always got massive smiles and big hugs. It was really cool,” Rochon said.
Operation Chill turned 21 this year and it’s also a milestone birthday for our favourite frosty beverage. Fifty years since the first one was poured at the 17 Ave. SE store in Calgary.
Back then clerks would dispense them behind the counter and they had names like Pink Fink, For Adults Only, Moonshine, Fulla Bulla, Gull Washer. Yes, there’s been a few changes.
Considering that it’s bitterly cold for five months of the year it seems unlikely, but as we all know, Winnipeg is the “Slurpee Capital of the World”. And we’ve held onto this title for 17 years now.
Kennewick, WA tried to take it from us back in 2008 but we rallied and drank more of them. We love these proprietary semi carbonated beverages served at a chilly 2.2 degrees.
Each local 7-Eleven store here sells an amazing average 8,300 of them a month (2009 stat). And we drink them in every season. There’s nothing like an icy Slurpee in -30 to make you feel like a true Winnipegger.
Laurie Smith, National Communications Manager with 7-Eleven Canada Inc. explained the methodology behind our title.
“Winnipeg has been crowned the “Slurpee Capital of the World” for having the highest average number of Slurpee cups sold per store in a region,” said Smith. When asked if there were any surprising facts about Manitobans and Slurpees she replied with some little known local lore.
Apparently we often hold reunions at a neighbourhood 7-Eleven (though I’m not sure where in the store you’d do this). She said many brides and grooms will stop on their way to their reception to get their photos taken at a 7-Eleven and at least one of the wedding photos will have a Slurpee in it. That’s kind of cute.
Did you know a Slurpee is the number one beverage served to women in Winnipeg’s maternity wards in the summer? And, if you’re arriving in Winnipeg, it’s become common for friends and family to be met at the airport with Slurpees instead of flowers. Somehow I don’t think florists are happy about this.
All of these small things contributed to us retaining our title over other big Slurpee-drinking markets such as Detroit, Seattle and Salt Lake City.
I wonder what Americans think of Winnipeg – probably to them a snowy outpost up north in the middle of nowhere – outdrinking them year after year. Maybe they even think we’re cheating as our version isn’t the same as theirs. Yucca Extract gives theirs in the US a foamier, aerier texture. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to go to North Dakota and try one.
Considering that we can’t stock up on them, can’t keep them chilling in the freezer to defrost later and actually have to visit a 7-Eleven store to pick one up instead of going through a drive-thru, there’s something quaint and old fashioned about a Slurpee.