The best ice cream in Ontario cottage country

ice cream

Like chip wagons and baskets of wild blueberries, sweet, drippy ice cream cones are an integral part of cottage foodie culture. Chances are, you’ve already got your favourite place to stop and indulge on the way, but if not, here are some of our readers’ favourites. 

Anywhere that serves Kawartha Dairy 

Founded and headquartered in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Kawartha Dairy now operates eight retail outlets. Although its best-known store is in Minden, this iconic company also has stores in Barrie, Bancroft, Huntsville, Lindsay, Peterborough, and Uxbridge. Plus, containers of their ice cream are available in grocery stores province-wide, so your cravings are pretty much covered, regardless of where your cottage is.

Brum’s Dairy, Pembroke

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River where it meets the Muskrat River, Pembroke, Ontario, is home to approximately 25,000 residents and one ice cream store whose reviews proclaim it “the best ice cream anywhere.” If you find yourself in the Ottawa Valley this summer, pop by Brum’s and enjoy a cone. You should also think about trying their chocolate milk, which is equally delicious. 

Ice Dreams Soda Shop, Bala

With a wide range of interesting ice cream and milkshake flavours (creme brulee, shake, anyone?), Ice Dreams is a hopping outlet conveniently located across from the Bala LCBO. Even if you’re not an ice cream fan, check out Ice Dreams just to see the incredible collection of Coke memorabilia that plaster the walls.

French River Trading Post, French River

This traditional cottage-country trading post on Highway 69—a perfect place to stop and stretch your legs—boasts an ice cream bar with 16 different flavours, as well as old-fashioned sundaes and milkshakes. Combine a cone with a pound of homemade fudge and you may never want to eat savoury food again. 

Mr. Norm’s Nephew, Wasaga Beach

Yes, Mr. Norm’s Nephew is actually run by Mr. Norm’s nephew. Long ago, the store was called Mr. Norm’s, and when the business was passed down to the next generation the name change followed. Mr. Norm’s Nephew makes traditional frozen yogourt, which means they start with a block of plain yogourt and frozen fruit. Favourite flavours include strawberry banana and maple cookie (yes, made with real maple sandwich cookies), although adventurous eaters can request slightly more bizarre combos like broccoli and cheese.

Hewitt’s Dairy Bar, Hagersville

Hewitt’s Dairy Bar is a must-stop location on the way south to cottages on Lake Erie. Along with 60 flavours—which include cotton candy, pineapple, and chocolate peanut butter ripple—Hewitt’s also serves five flavours of goat’s milk ice cream, and even low-sugar options. And if you’re really hungry, you can also pick up a burger and fries.

Scoops Ice Cream, Pakenham

Don’t let its location fool you—Pakenham may be on the Mississippi River, but it’s not that Mississippi, it’s tributary of the Ottawa River. Scoops is close to the river, and while there’s no indoor seating, there’s a shaded gazebo beside the tiny store where you can sit and watch the world go by while enjoying a waffle cone.

3 Cows and a Cone, Little Current

Located just across from the swing bridge at the northeastern tip of Manitoulin Island, 3 Cows and a Cone—popular with locals and cottagers alike—is a great place to stop on your way onto or off of the island. If you’re looking for a quick meal, 3 Cows and a Cone also makes subs and pizza.  


We know there are more favourites out there—where would you recommend?