Epic frozen creations are setting Instagram aglow, from colossal ice cream sandwiches to out-of-the-box toppings and adventurous flavour pairings. In honour of the emerging warmer weather, we’re rounding up our favourite ice cream parlours across the Greater Golden Horseshoe to keep you cool this summer.
Use our map to plan your next frozen dessert adventure, but remember we’re not responsible for the sugar-induced coma that follows.
Toronto and North York
Hollywood Gelato is a family run spot carrying over 20 flavours of Italian gelato with new limited-time creations, such as toasted marshmallow. In addition to hand-made ice cream, the shop offers specialty coffee beverages, such as an Affogato, an ingenious dessert made from hot espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Photo courtesy of: @hollywoodgelato
Ed’s Real Scoop has expanded to four Toronto locations, including Etobicoke near our Eau Du Soleil community. The sweet shop boasts over 100 flavours of ice cream, including tubs available for purchase to indulge at home. Enjoy some of their other mouthwatering creations, such as homemade chocolates, candy, sundaes, floats, sorbet and milkshakes.
Photo courtesy of: @edsrealscoop
Grinning Face in Cabbage Town is your destination for a truly unique ice cream experience. The shop, owned by sisters Keo Williamson and Julie Phokeo offers dairy free ice cream made with handmade coconut milk, fresh farm-to-table ingredients and a whole lot of elbow grease. Look for seasonally dictated fruit flavours as well as creatively paired inventions like ginger and dark chocolate or honey and beets. The ladies even take recommendations and requests when mixing new flavours. Best part? You can take their masterpieces home in pints.
Photo courtesy of: @grinningfacegelato
La Paloma is a long-standing staple in the St. Clair West community. Open seasonally, you can tell it’s summer when you see a crowd of people gathered around the store front, enjoying their many flavours of traditional gelato. Our favourite is Tiramisu, available in a waffle cone, traditional cone or cup.
Photo courtesy of: @lapalomagelato
Tom’s Dairy Freeze in Etobicoke opened in 1969 and lucky for its patrons, hasn’t changed much over the years. Tom’s has a distinctly drive-in like feel, with blue and white umbrellas above wooden picnic tables. You’ll likely notice the long line up, but never fear, the veterans at Tom’s are used to efficiently serving their ice cream-crazed clientele. Not only do we love the thick, creamy texture of their ice cream courtesy of their untouched real cream-based recipe, but other options, from thick-cut fries and old-fashioned milkshakes all elicit the same sentimental response.
Photo courtesy of: @tomsdairyfreeze
Sweet Olenka’s has three locations across the GTA, with one on Lakeshore just minutes from our Eau Du Soleil community. Small and unassuming from the outside, the shop is bursting with beautiful ice cream bars akin to a work of art, ready-made ice cream sandwiches and handmade ice cream cones and cups, topped with their signature chocolate leaf, that is the perfect accompaniment to the short walk from the shop to the scenic lakeshore.
Photo courtesy of: @sweetolenkas
Located near Sheppard subway station, Nanashake is a delicious vegan option for iced desserts. Made from plant-based ingredients with bananas at the heart of the smooth soft serve, everything is freshly made in store daily. From unexpected flavours like spiced dates, to an array of vegan toppings, ice cream sandwiches and Nana Pops, there’s something for everyone, vegan or not.
Photo courtesy of: @thenanashake
Bang Bang on Ossington is easily spotted because of the long line spilling out into the street (don’t worry, it moves pretty fast). Part bakery, part artisan ice cream parlour, Bang Bang offers made-before-your-eyes ice cream sandwiches using your pick of fresh baked cookies with a generous serving of ice cream piled in the middle. If you still haven’t decided which combo you’d prefer when you get up to order, don’t worry, the dessert masters behind the counter know which pairing will make your day. Grab some extra napkins on your way out, you’re going to need them.
Photo courtesy of: @bangbang_icecream
Sweet Jesus is perhaps one of the most widely known epic ice cream joints around. With an emphasis on larger than life servings and loaded toppings like cotton candy and marshmallow covered potato chips (you read that right), it has a lot of people spreading the word via social media. The original location on John Street north of King Street is tiny in size, but mighty in every other way, opening up at 7 a.m. daily to get early morning commuters their espresso fix before catering to their sweet tooth.
Photo courtesy of: @sweetjesus
Hotel Gelato on Eglinton West offers a unique café-bistro atmosphere for your post-dinner sweet fix. With 70 flavours on rotation made fresh in small batches every day, they also offer a variety of non-dairy, vegan, sugar and gluten-free treats. We recommend one of their best sellers, spicy Mayan chocolate.
Photo courtesy of: @hotelgelato
Murphy’s Ice Cream Parlor in Mississauga has a small-town vibe from the outside but hits you with a delectable warm waffle cone smell that is impossible to resist. Murphy’s has soft and hard serve ice cream, slushies, frozen yogurt, sundaes and Italian gelato with a wide flavour selection and ample outdoor seating. Being located in scenic Streetsville means patrons can walk around enjoying the charming shops and live music on a warm summer’s evening.
Photo courtesy of: Murphy’s Ice Cream Parlour
Wow Wow Yum Yum is a uniquely sweet experience. Born out of the growing Thailand street food craze of ice cream rolling, it’s one of few shops dedicated to the trend in Canada. Owner Jen Lam’s family operated Thai ice cream roll stands in Thailand before she brought the trend to Toronto. The process is not only labour intensive, done all by hand, but is also very hypnotic to watch, which probably has something to do with the growing trend of ice cream rolling videos popping up online.
Photo courtesy of: Wow Wow Yum Yum
The Flavour Fox Inc in Oakville, a short drive from Rain & Senses is a community destination designed by students in the area and catering to locals looking for a place to unwind. Try the hand-crafted gelato made daily as well as some of their other goodies, including Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream, milkshakes, homemade chocolate chip cookies and gourmet hot chocolate made from real chocolate. Vegan and Dairy free options are always available.
SOUTH WESTERN ONTARIO
Henry Brown’s Small Batch Ice Cream in Hamilton are makers of small batch ice cream using natural, organic and local ingredients. With exceptional quality and unique flavours they have become a Hamilton staple backed by owners Ed and Karen’s friendly service and craftsmanship. You’ll find them at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market at Stall 2A (upper level).
Photo courtesy of: @henrybrowns
Dairee Delite in Brantford has been around since the early ’50’s serving ice cream and more to the community for over 60 years, earning itself landmark status, a short drive from our Wyndfield community. With a fun history that includes ownership changing hands during a poker game, the vintage-style stand continues to serve the traditional dip and twist soft serve, sundaes and old fashioned classics like milkshakes, banana splits and hot fudge brownies. We recommend their creamy frozen yogurt.
Photo courtesy of: @daireedelite