IF anyone needed proof that Winnipeggers live up to their reputation as zealous bargain-hunters, Tuesday night provided the cold truth.
Hundreds of shoppers waited outside in -20 C temperatures for hours to score the best deals at retailers across the city.
Jody Seman, general manager of the Best Buy on St. James Street, said shoppers began lining up outside the store as early as 6 p.m. Christmas Day. When doors opened at 6 a.m., hundreds of shoppers were lined up.
"That's actually pretty normal for lineups on Boxing Day," said Seman, who has worked every Boxing Day for the past 14 years.
At least 120 people, all the store's employees, staffed Best Buy on Boxing Day, Seman said.
"There's definitely lots of excitement. We get here early, so it's a long day, but you get the energy from everyone else in here. Before you know it, it'll be 9 p.m. and there'll be another one in the books."
The Best Buy staff will usually start preparing for Boxing Day in early December to make sure everything goes smoothly on the busiest shopping day of the year, Seman said.
"We're already planning out our lines, where products are going to go, who's working where, when their breaks are," he said.
Down the street from Best Buy, the first shoppers arrived at Future Shop at 4 a.m. Just after 7 a.m., almost 50 people were in line for one cashier alone.
Many shoppers at Polo Park shopping centre began entering the mall just after 7 a.m., an hour before most stores were to open. More than 100 people were lined up outside the Lululemon location on the second floor.
Tiffaney Taverner took the distinction of being first in line outside the fitness-wear store for the second year in a row.
"I can't believe it, because it's the first time I've ever been first in anything," she laughed.
"I just got up really early. I don't want to give away my secrets, but it involves food. If you come early enough, you miss a lot of the busy-busy."
Heidi Crolley, in line outside Sephora on Wednesday morning, said she typically avoids the Boxing Day rush but decided to come out to get her favourite blush for cheap.
She usually can't stand the crowds, so she only comes out for Boxing Day shopping every few years, she said.
"It's awful. It's the day after Christmas, but everyone forgets how to be nice. So I usually just stay home," Crolley said.
"I was just at Michael's (on St. James Street), and it's in the same parking lot as Best Buy and Future Shop, and it's brutal. I thought, 'This is why you don't do this.' "
It was expected that close to 62 per cent of Canadians would take part in Boxing Day shopping, according to a Bank of Montreal poll released Wednesday.
Albertans the most avid Boxing Day shoppers: poll
TORONTO -- Wallets were flung open and registers rang out Wednesday as a number of Canadians shook off holiday fatigue and flocked to stores for Boxing Day bargains.
A new survey commissioned by the Bank of Montreal suggests Canadians continue to embrace the Boxing Day tradition this year.
The Pollara survey of 1,000 Canadians found about six in 10 respondents planned to shop on Boxing Day.
The survey suggested Alberta would see the most transactions Wednesday, with 76 per cent of respondents saying they planned to take advantage of the bargains. Quebec was expected to see the lightest Boxing Day shopping, with just 36 per cent of respondents saying they planned to participate.
The survey found men were more likely than women to take advantage of Boxing Day sales -- 66 per cent versus 58 per cent. Some 22 per cent said they planned to shop for themselves and 34 per cent said they would buy for themselves and others.
The poll was done between Oct. 11 and 16. The results are considered accurate plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
-- The Canadian Press