Cool off with sweet treats this summer

Exploring Winnipeg’s iconic ice cream shops

The Bridge Drive-In (BDI) is know for its specialies like the Goog, as well as for their titular bridge, which is a pedestrian-only walkway.

Callie Lugosi

With the arrival of Winnipeg’s famous muggy, warm weather, many ice cream enthusiasts are twitching to begin their summertime treks to their favourite ice cream shops. But this can present a challenge for anyone who does not have

a favourite spot.

Googling “Winnipeg ice cream spots” will produce more than 20 options.

To help any overwhelmed ice cream fan decide where to go, here are three of the most iconic ice cream spots in Winnipeg.

Sub Zero Ice Cream

While many ice cream connoisseurs will suggest spots in the south side of the city, Sub Zero Ice Cream stands its ground as an iconic spot in the neighborhood of Elmwood. Established in 1987, Sub Zero has been serving Winnipeg their city-famous soft-serve parfaits for over 30 years.

“The most popular treats which (make) us unique from other locations are the parfaits,” owner and parfait creator Lihn

Le says. With over 50 signature combination flavour options (and more brainstormed every day), even the most finicky of ice cream-fans will find a combination

they’ll love.

“The upcoming parfait will be the Tim Tam Crumbs Parfait with vanilla ice cream, layered with Nutella and Australian Tim Tam biscuits,” Le says.

Other dietary accommodations can be made, such as their vegan banana coconut stick, made with fresh bananas, coconut milk and assorted nuts.

Even pooches can enjoy their own special treat. The K9 Cone for dogs is “a little soft vanilla topped with a mini dog cookie,” Le says.

Their Elmwood location gives the establishment a connection to their community. As one reviewer stated on the establishment’s Facebook page, “Sub Zero is a great local ice cream shop. It’s dangerous that it is so close.”

For classics like sundaes, milkshakes or banana splits, or one of their specialty parfaits, Sub Zero has got it covered.

Bridge Drive-In

One of the city’s most acclaimed ice creams establishments, the Bridge Drive-In (BDI) has been serving Winnipeggers their large assortment of tasty treats for almost 50 years. With such specials as the Goog (an upside-down blueberry shake with a hot fudge sundae and bananas topped with whipped cream) and their assortment of milkshakes, it is a must-visit for anyone looking for some classic Winnipeg creations.

“It started about 48 years ago, when my grandparents ended up buying it with two other people,” owner Jessica Jacob says. “It’s been a part of my whole life, basically.”

Passed down to her five years ago, Jacob and her husband Justin Jacob have been experimenting and expanding the well-known Winnipeg establishment, while still incorporating the community connections and friendliness that Jessica’s grandmother started 48 years ago.

This expansion can be seen in the vegan options they now provide. One of these options is a pineapple vegan milkshake that they’re working on perfecting, but they don’t plan on stopping there.

“We’re also working on vegan hard ice cream … We’ve been working with the University of Manitoba with that, with a low-sugar ice cream, too,” Jessica

Jacob says.

Another expansion has been the BDI Goog To-Go Truck, which many would recognize from the recent Winnipeg Jets’ street parties.

“It’s a way that people can try BDI that can’t actually make it down to the shop,” Justin Jacob says.

The food truck can be found throughout the city and beyond.

“The truck enables us to get out,” Justin Jacob says. “A lot of people from the North End have never tried BDI before, and they’ve heard of it … they were pretty thrilled when we came out there.”

The community connection of BDI now spreads from their original location at Elm Park to locations outside Winnipeg, such as Altona and St-Pierre-Jolys.

“One of the specialty cones that’s been really popular right now is the Cloud Nine Cone,” Jessica Jacob says. With BDI’s signature in-house-made waffle cones and vanilla soft-serve ice cream, it is served surrounded with cotton candy with cotton candy sprinkles.

Sargent Sundae

Across from Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park, Sargent Sundae provides another signature ice cream spot, especially for anyone craving a soft-serve fix.

“My favourite treat is definitely the soft-serve ice cream. It’s a classic, and the quality of Sargent Sundae means it’s by far my favourite,” long-time customer Trevor Dyck says.

Although their chocolate vanilla swirl soft serve is exceptionally noteworthy, more adventurous ice cream-goers can enjoy their weekly soft-serve specials, with flavours ranging from fruity to ones more on the decadent side.

“The soft serve is definitely the best, and I recommend it to everyone who goes there,” Dyck says, adding that it is “a timeless classic done to perfection.”

“Its location is amazing and keeps me coming back,” Dyck explains.

Situated across from Assiniboine Park, visitors can enjoy their treats while taking a stroll.

While the line may wrap around the block on certain days, there is always the promise of the shade and paths of the park to look forward to - a perfect accompaniment to ice cream.

Dyck grew up in St. James and says that Sargent Sundae was a quintessential part of living in the area.

“When I was a kid, my friends and I would go there with whatever pocketmoney we had, and as I got older, that didn’t really stop,” Dyck says.

Sargent Sundae’s reputation goes beyond St. James.

“Being such a big part of the area and the community is why it’s so popular to people in St. James and throughout the whole city,” Dyck says.

Published in Volume 72, Number 25 of The Uniter (May 31, 2018)

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