It's a countdown that begins in mid-February. Yes, there's still snow on the ground. Yes, the wind chill still has frozen you right to the core. It is probably the last thing I should be thinking about, but my eyes are glued to the calendar nonetheless.
Ever since I moved to Winnipeg to go to university, the countdown has become an annual occurrence. The reason: the opening of the Bridge Drive-In (or BDI as it is more affectionately known). When it opens for the season, I start to make excuses to drive down Jubilee, to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the day. I make the turn into the small parking lot, rustle up some change, and order some of that heavenly frozen goodness.
BDI is a rite of passage for those new to the city, visitors to the city, or the most "seasoned" Winnipegger among us. On a hot summer night, the line winds away from the window, down the steps, and throughout the parking lot, filled with folks lined up for the Goog, a concoction that I can't even begin to understand. Other popular favourites include the Peach Velvet shakes and the Sleeping Beauty, creating the ultimate internal debate over which treat to order.
The river provides the backdrop for a simple evening out. The bridge allows you to enjoy a stroll in the summer heat, where you can walk and enjoy your ice cream, and pray you spill none of it on your shirt and embarrass yourself in front of your date for the evening. The moment you spill on your shirt is the precise moment you realize the women in your life are always right when they say you should always have napkins at the ready.
Winnipeg is filled with independent ice cream stands, each with its own loyal and devoted fan base. Some may disagree with me (including members of my own family) when I declare BDI the best ice cream in the city, but it will always be the place that I associate with Winnipeg. The location is the Winnipeg I am in love with -- the river, the bridge, the tree-lined neighbourhoods. A warm summer night is just not the same without a large, frozen delicacy. This is the reason why BDI is my summer home. I'll see you at the bridge.
Joey Dearborn is a Politics student at the University of Winnipeg, and though he lives in Winnipeg, he is a "country boy" at heart. When he isn't enjoying too much ice cream, he is often volunteering or reading all things political.
Do you have a favourite place in Winnipeg?
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