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: Ice Cream Squad
From classics like vanilla, to new favourites like salty caramel truffle, Ice Cream Squad serves up scoops of delicious fresh made ice cream.
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: Tuscan Wolfe Pizzeria
Why not try some gelato imported from Italy at the Tuscan Wolfe Pizzeria? With options like vegan lemon sorbet, to pistachio, you can even enjoy the best of both worlds with their affogato al caffe, a scoop of Italian vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso on top.
Source: Tuscan Wolfe Pizzeria
Bonus: Stop 4 Variety in Downtown Sunderland
111 River Street, Sunderland
For some freshly scooped ice cream, stop by Stop 4 Variety general store in downtown Sunderland. With around 13 flavours to choose from, there is something for everyone.