On a recent trip to my hometown of Sudbury, my family and I headed out on a Saturday morning for porketta bingo at the Beef n’ Bird.
Porketta bingo is one of Sudbury’s best kept secrets. As someone who spent their finest drinking years in that city, I had never been to the Beef n’ Bird before going there for bingo.
It’s a neighbourhood bar, opened by a local former NHL hockey player in the 70’s name Jerry Toppazzini. There’s a table reserved for the regulars because on a Saturday during bingo season, the Beef n’ Bird is taken over mostly by Laurentian university students. They pay $12 each per bingo card and fill up on porketta throughout the afternoon.
The meat bingo doesn’t actually start till 2:30 pm but you have to get there early to get a seat. When we arrived at noon, all of the seats were taken mostly by students, who I am told, all get on a bus to go to bingo every weekend. One of our friends arrived early than us and managed to save us a few bar stools in a tiny corner of the bar.
All of the money raised during bingo is donated to a local hockey association. Ron, who calls out the numbers on a mic by flipping over a card, told me that the money raised allows kids, mostly those in poverty from the neighbourhood, to be able to have the chance to play hockey.
The meat that you win is actually delicious and the energy in the packed bar is electric. If you call “porketta” and haven’t actually won, the bar will start to chant that you are a “fu#$ up”. And there’s also a chant for new players – “He/She’s a virgin”.