General

For the love of general stores

Who doesn’t have fond memories of hanging loitering in front of the local general store? The place where you spent your hard-earned money for gum, chocolate bars, ice cream—maybe even a kite. These longstanding trusty retail spots are great places to buy essentials and stretch your legs, and luck out when there are homemade pies, fudge, or butter tarts for the taking. Some even come with branded souvenir swag. If you’re hungry mid-route, grab some commute cuisine curbside where there’s a café or restaurant attached.

Agnew’s, Wilberforce, Ont.
Open since 1921, Agnew’s has gifts, Kawartha Dairy ice cream and locally made fudge, hardware, garden décor, toys and candy, and if you’re a rock collector, they also sell geodes and tumbled stones.

Cheltenham General Store, Cheltenham, Ont.
This historic stone structure was built in 1887 and renovated in 2008 by its current owners. It’s a cute country shop that contains a lot of conveniences: fresh coffee, signature sandwiches (breakfast and lunch), a post office, baked goods, ice cream, household staples, a free book exchange and locally raised AAA black angus beef for your upcoming BBQ dinner. You might also walk out with a souvenir hoodie or comfy track pants. Post Covid restrictions, there are some cozy overnight accommodations upstairs: book the Escarpment Suite or the Badlands Suite. Each is private, finely furnished and has its own bathroom.

Commanda General Store & Museum, Commanda, Ont.
Just off Highway 11, known as the central location on the Old Rosseau-Nippissing settlers’ route there’s a gem of a general store: a great example of late 19th century Victorian commercial architecture. The museum portion exhibits curiosities original counters, flooring and goods from 1885 – 1934. Time your visit: it’s open only July 1 to Labour Day.

Enniskillen General Store, Hampton, Ont.
Built back n 1840, this location was once a Canada Post office, and a butcher shop and has chameleoned into the general store it is today. You’ll find and mammoth scoops of ice cream that no one should (or could) eat alone – and a LCBO and Beer Store outlet.

Hockley General Store, Orangeville, Ont. 
Like some of its counterparts across the province, this store packs in a lot of services: groceries, coffee, bakery, restaurant, LCBO and Beer Store.

Kimberley General Store, Kimberley, Ont.
Inside this original store building from 1905 it still retains its old school rustic interior. You’ll find baked goods, in-house made pies, coffee, local produce (including their own garlic), organic goods and curiosities along with those general grocery items you might be looking for.

Port Albert Store, Goderich, Ont.
Quintessential one-stop shopping wrapped up in a charming exterior. Perched on the shores of Lake Huron, this community store sells bait, firewood, ice cream – and also hops and spirits in the LCBO and Beer store outlet. If you stop by hungry, the pub has pizza, burgers, sandwiches, sides and salads.

Robinson’s General Store, Dorset, Ont.
Retains the award for Canada’s Best Country Store”, inside you’ll find 14,000sq. ft. with everything: a Food Town grocery store, a Home Hardware, The Red Onion upstairs ladies boutique, and they also stock a nice selection of gifts, comfy cottage clothes and super soft moccasins (their specialty). We hope the store stays as charming as ever; it’s under new ownership as of April 2021.

The Rosemont General Store & Kitchen, Mulmur, Ont.
Selling goods and sundries since the 1860s, this store offers organics, locally sourced products, baked goods and a selection of merch from the UK. The Kitchen is famous for homemade soups, plus its pizza cooked in the woodstone oven.

Trousedale’s General Store, Sydenham, Ont.
Canada’s longest-running general store – open since 1836 and could give Robinson’s a run for its money on the amount and range of inventory here.

Young’s General Store, Wawa, Ont.
Fresh homemade fudge, summer sausage and a legit pickle barrel (containing sour pickles, or course) and a claim to the “largest collection of uniquely northern clothes and souvenirs for miles around.” IG moments: selfies with Henrietta the Moose or the original Wawa Goose statue.

Did we miss your favourite general store? Drop us a note to edit@cottagelife.com to tell us about it!

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