WINNIPEG -- How sweet it is. For the fifth year in a row, Winnipeg can proudly call itself the Slurpee Capital of the World.

Winnipeggers maintained an icy grip on the title by sucking back an average of 110,873 Slurpees per store in 2003, according to statistics released yesterday by 7-Eleven.

"There's nowhere else in the world where so many people drink so many Slurpees," company spokesperson Julie Dow said from Vancouver. "I think that's pretty impressive."

To mark the honour, 7-Eleven will present Mayor Sam Katz with a bronzed Slurpee cup Friday afternoon at City Hall.

The title is awarded annually to the city with the highest average number of Slurpee drinks sold per 7-Eleven store.

Winnipeg locations beat out 5,800 other 7-Eleven outlets in North America, including 490 in Canada, to win the crown.

Calgary, with an average of 89,587 per store, and Detroit, with 78,304, finished a distant second and third.

Winnipeggers knock back an average 10,100 Slurpees a month, well above the Canadian average of 7,731.

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