There was a time when everything in Manitoba seemed foreign to you. But slowly and surely, despite the temperature and snow in winter, and the mosquitoes and construction in summer, you started getting used to the province’s eccentricities and have grown to appreciate its beautiful scenery, amazing people and its many colourful festivals.
So now, let’s put it to the test. If you can relate to these signs and they make you smile, then you’ve turned into a true-blue Manitoban:
You’re proud of the title “Winterpeg”
You’ve experienced being outside during “feels like -50” temperature. Every morning, it’s second nature to put on at least three layers of clothing. You’ve gotten stuck and had your car pushed out of the snow. You’ve wrestled with the idea of whether it is humanly possible to wait in an unheated shelter for more than five minutes. You’ve had all these winter exploits and have lived to tell the tale. No wonder you’re a proud Winterpegger!
You know what Socials are
You get plus points if you’ve not only bought a ticket to one but have actually attended a social and have bought additional tickets to the raffle. To the uninitiated, a social is a uniquely Manitoban concept of a “fundraising party often for a wedding, a charitable or community organization. Usually held at a community centre or a legion hall, it is called “Manitoba Social,” “Winnipeg Social,” “Wedding Social,” or just simply “Social” (Manitoba Socials Guide). There’s no other province in Canada that has these shindigs!
You know who Dancing Gabe is
If you have attended Bombers, Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg Jets and Goldeyes games, you must have seen this jolly figure dancing on the stands. He is none other than Gabriel Langlois, better known as Dancing Gabe, a Winnipeg icon. Dancing Gabe is a sports fan extraordinaire who not only knows sports stats by heart but is also a testament to how Manitobans are crazy loyal to their sports teams. You get additional points if you’ve high-fived Dancing Gabe or have taken a selfie with him.
You go to festivals in winter and summer
It has almost become automatic that when February rolls in, you wonder if there’s enough snow fall to make those gigantic snow sculptures for Festival du Voyageur. And when summer comes, you plot out which Folklorama pavilions you will visit. A million plus points if you’ve been to the Morden Apple and Corn festival, Icelandic fest Islendingadagurinn or the Ice Festival at Gimli a couple of times.
You’ve become a hockey fan
You’ve seen the game and have gotten hooked on the mystique of hockey. You’ve screamed your lungs out chanting “Go, Jets! Go!” in one of those games and the recent Whiteout street parties downtown. If you own a Winnipeg jersey and follow the NHL games closely, that seals the deal.
You love Slurpees
What’s better than having a cup of iced deliciousness in -40 weather? Having an extra large cup of it, of course! Being that Manitoba is the “Slurpee Capital of the World,” a title it has held for the 22nd year in a row (yes, Winnipeg held the crown even during the pandemic), it’s only appropriate that you love this slushy drink. The title recognizes the fact that Winnipeggers consume more of the icy 7-Eleven beverage than any other city. As a testament to our pride for earning the title, Rouge Road between Portage Avenue and Byrd Avenue has earned the honourary street name of Slurpee Way.
You watch movies at the park
Whether it’s at Assiniboine Park or some other open field (or beach), you know the drill. You bring a folding chair, blankets, some snacks and, of course, a bottle of mosquito repellent with you. You go to the park in the early afternoon to catch the movie for kids and then stay throughout the evening for the main feature. It’s fun, it’s free, plus you experience the great outdoors. What’s not to like?
“Friendly Manitoba” has become a mantra, not a slogan
Have you started giving directions to tourists who look lost? Have you made it a point to help out other newcomers like you? Being welcoming and giving back are awesome Manitoban traits that truly make us the country’s friendliest people. It has become our way of life, and we’re proud of it!
Bonus: You know who Manitoba Merv is
Manitoba Merv is the province’s version of Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog chosen to be the predictor of spring on Groundhog Day. According to superstition, if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. If it doesn’t see it, spring will come early. For 26 years now, Manitoba Merv has shown his season-predicting ability and has been correct 98% of the time (he has had only one mistake since 1993). A plus point is that unlike Punxsutawney Phil, he is immortal (since he is a puppet). He lives at the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre and comes out only on Feb. 2 every year. (For more of Manitoba Merv, read Manitoba Merv: The 26-year history of a Groundhog Day legend,CTV Winnipeg).
Are there any other signs that we’ve missed? Send us a note, and we’ll add it!
Article updated July 23, 2021.
Sources: Manitoba day, Manitoba government; Manitoba Socials Guide, Jay Friesen; and The man behind the moves: Dancing Gabe, family share story on Winnipeg icon, Alesia Fieldberg, CTV News. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
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