When the temperatures start to climb, there's no better way to beat the heat than with the most nostalgic of summer treats – so we've rounded up the best ice cream in Toronto.
We've come a long way since the days of chasing the tune-blasting truck to get our hands on the most extravagant dessert we could imagine at the time (a vanilla-chocolate swirl). And as we've grown up, so has the ice cream scene in the city.
From the trendy black charcoal ice cream and the Insta-worthy monstrosities overflowing with every topping under the sun, to the just-damn-good gelato in a cup, we round up the best ice cream in Toronto.
205 Dundas St. W
Ice cream here comes piled high with all the accoutrements, like the Cookie Monster: blue ice cream in an Oreo cone with mini Chips Ahoy cookies, or the Skor brownie flavour coated with toasted marshmallow. While you’re there, grab a few of the specialty mini donuts that they’re known for.
Bang Bang Ice Cream
93A Ossington Ave.
Usually it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but not when it comes to Bang Bang’s decadent homemade cookies that sandwich a generous scoop of ice cream. Their warm cinibun ice cream sandwich also makes for a treat worth wrapping your mouth around. Or swaddle your bundle of cold creamy joy in a puffy Hong Kong-style waffle cone.
831 Queen St. W
You might recognize iHalo Krunch’s signature black cones from the charcoal craze that swept the city last summer. While that fad has melted away, these ice creams sure didn’t. You can still find them on West Queen West (or at Vaughan Mills) serving their unusual soft-serve flavours in hand-rolled charcoal cones. Go for that black on black look with the coconut charcoal flavour, or try something out of the ordinary with ube – a sweet purple yam.
394 Queen St. W
What started out as a small seasonal shop has grown into a year-round favourite for gelato and bubble tea. Flavours like Vietnamese coffee, dark chocolate cherry, jasmine tea, soursop and black sesame come by the cup or cone – or as gelato bars dipped in chocolate and crumbled nuts.
36 Vaughan Rd.
Can you really call yourself a Torontonian if you’ve never been to this iconic spot? Once you’ve survived the queue, step inside to see walls lined with old portraits and landscapes. Pair that with a secret ice cream recipe passed down for generations and you’ve discovered the magic of Dutch Dreams.
283 Rushton Rd.
A few years ago, Toronto entrepreneurs James Carnevale and Nick Genova came up with the quirky idea to sell bars of handmade gelato out of a three-wheeled Piaggio Ape, and the concept has clearly been a hit. They've since expanded operations with a shop near St. Clair and Christie that draws lineups for its seasonally inspired gelato and sundaes.
Wong's Ice Cream
617 Gerrard St. E
Ice cream fanatic Ed Wong used to operate the popular Henry Brown’s Small Batch Ice Cream Company in Hamilton before opening Wong’s Ice Cream in east Chinatown. The interesting Asian-inspired flavour combinations – such as chocolate yuzu or black sesame with salted duck egg – are winning over the hearts of dessert lovers across Toronto. Wong, thankfully, is more concerned with quality than with over-the-top social media appeal.
Vegans flock to Sweet Olenka’s for the generous spread of dairy-free ice creams that use coconut milk in place of traditional milk. But the roster of non-vegan treats is highly in demand, too. This shop excels at incorporating local, seasonal fruit, such as Ontario strawberries and peaches, resulting in scoops that are in-your-face fresh.