Whether you’re a parent or an educator, a business owner or a hockey fan, or maybe all of the above, there is something we all have in common—it’s been a rocky year. But not to fear, summer is here! And, what better way to celebrate the official start of summer than with some rocky road ice cream? Like…a lot of ice cream. We know this may not be the cup you were dreaming of—(too soon?)—but at least it’s something you can get your hands on at one of Durham Region’s beautiful little ice cream spots!
We’ve curated this tasty to-do list just for you, and indicated which shops have dairy free or vegan options, so everyone can enjoy some deliciousness this season. Whether you want to spread it out over the whole summer, or you’re going to power through our list in one week: you do you. We’re not judging.
For this list, we’ve focused on shops in our downtowns where you can stroll, snack and shop the day away. But, there are so many amazing shops across Durham Region to visit! Explore the whole region in our Tourism directory.
1. Downtown Ajax: Alnoor Kebab & Sweets
Try some traditional Indian ice cream, called kulfi, at Alnoor Kebab & Sweets, a casual dining spot for Indian, Pakistani and East African cuisine. With flavours like pistachio and strawberry, kulfi is this summer’s must-try.
Source: Durham Tourism
2. Downtown Beaverton: Cool Cow
Cool Cow is a youth-run, adult-guided ice cream social enterprise that provides youth employment and community enjoyment. With more than 20 flavours, including some dairy free options, you can’t go wrong! Oh, and you’ll want to try their Cow Patties. Trust us.
Source: Cool Cow
3. Downtown Bowmanville: Chanterelle Bistro
Source: Chanterelle Bistro
4. Downtown Brooklin: Tip-Top Creamery
Tip-Top Creamery in Brooklin features more than 40 flavours of delicious Kawartha Dairy ice cream at its picture–perfect pink shop. Grab a cone or cup in either regular or lactose free options, and then take a stroll through the nearby Grass Park.
5. Downtown Newcastle: Newcastle Dairy
Newcastle Dairy carries locally sourced and very delicious Central Smith Creamery Ice Cream! Central Smith is a dairy manufactured in Peterborough with a fine selection of ice cream products using 100% Ontario milk. They also carry one dairy–free sorbet flavour.
6. Downtown Orono: Orono General Store
You can’t pass up a visit to a small-town general store. Stop in for some ice cream and you will most likely leave with some donuts too. And yes, they have vegan/dairy free options. Bliss!
Source: Orono Weekly Times
7. Downtown Oshawa: Cones and Characters
Cones and Characters is a family-oriented ice cream parlor with lots of treats to try, including a dairy-free/vegan option. Enjoy a monstrous dessert, retro arcades, and authentic movie and historical memorabilia. Bring on the brain freeze!
Source: Cones and Characters
8. Pickering Nautical Village: GrandDad’s Ice Cream Parlour
GrandDad’s is a family–owned and operated ice cream and candy shop in the quaint Pickering Nautical Village. They have both dairy free and nut free options. This is a picture-perfect place for a scoop and a stroll along the Pickering waterfront.
Source: GrandDad’s Ice Cream Parlour
9. Pickering Village: Pickering Village Ice Cream Shoppe
Scooping more than 60 flavours, including a few that are dairy-free, the Pickering Village Ice Cream Shoppe is located in the gorgeous and historic Pickering Village. Enjoy your ice cream on the beautiful courtyard patio.
10. Downtown Port Perry: The Nutty Chocolatier
Stop by the Nutty Chocolatier in Port Perry and enjoy a waffle cone, made freshly in-store daily. With many dairy-free options to choose from, you can follow-up your cone with a walk by the water or shop in some of the stores that line this gorgeous waterfront downtown.
Source: Durham Tourism
11. Downtown Uxbridge: Kawartha Dairy
Summer isn’t summer if you haven’t had a Kawartha Dairy ice cream. That’s a fact. Okay, maybe not really a fact, but it’s not a bad motto either. Stop by Kawartha Dairy in Uxbridge to kick off your summer. With three dairy-free options, there is something for everyone.
12. Downtown Whitby: Caldense Bakery
Caldense Bakery is kind of a big deal with their Portuguese custard tarts. But did you know as of June 25, they also have ice cream? With flavours like Dulce de Leche with Spiced Chocolate, you’re best to wear some stretchy pants because you’re going to want all the things.
Source: Durham Tourism
NOTE: At the time of publishing, Durham Region and the Province of Ontario are in Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen; the Province’s three-step plan to safely and gradually lift public health measures, based on ongoing progress of provincewide vaccination rates and improvements of key public health and health care indicators. Residents are encouraged to follow health guidance when safely exploring their local communities, wash hands frequently, wear a mask and physically distance from others.