Grab a soft serve to go from Sargent Sundae and walk over the footbridge to Assiniboine Park, home of the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
A wise woman recently told me, "Ice cream addiction is not weather dependent."
That's exactly the kind of sturdy rationale Winnipeggers lean on when a random ice cream craving hits in the dead of winter. During the chilly months, many rely on cartons from the freezer of their local grocery store.
But by spring, we're itching to satisfy our yen for ice cream at our favourite neighbourhood parlours.
This year, by mid-April two of the city's iconic ice-cream joints—Sargent Sundae and Bridge Drive In—had already opened shop. The duo are among the city's most popular spots for great cones, shakes and sundaes, among other treats.
With a prime location on Portage Avenue across from Assiniboine Park in St. James, Sargent Sundae is a top draw. Many folks grab a treat and then take a short walk over the footbridge that crosses the Assiniboine River to explore the city's largest park. Seating is also available on cement benches on either side of the parlour. Choose from a variety of soft serve and hard ice creams. Insiders tip: indulge in decadent hot fudge on top of whatever you order. The thick, gooey dark chocolate is the figurative cherry on top to any creamy treat.
Over at retro-style Bridge Drive In, epic ice cream concoctions are the star alongside 11 kinds of soft ice cream. Sundaes, multi-flavoured sodas and shakes also get their due here. Soft serve varieties includes vanilla, chocolate, twist, butter pecan, mocha cappuccino, green apple, strawberry, maple, blueberry, cool mint and bubble gum. Located alongside the Red River on Jubilee Avenue, BDI (as locals call it), also boasts a nearby footbridge over the river with nice views of the waterway and riverside homes. The path takes pedestrians to Kingston Row, a comfortable and established neighbourhood that's great for exploring by foot, with or without kids and dogs.
For big appetites or those willing to share, BDI’s Sleeping Beauty is a monster dessert that will challenge any stomach. Picture a pineapple, sliced vertically and filled with two ice-cream sundaes and topped with strawberries, cherries and peaks of whipped cream. It may be called the sleeping beauty because it will put you in a coma after you're finished. For smaller cravings, the chocolate-vanilla twist soft serve is among the creamiest in town.
Word to the wise: Both Sargent Sundae and BDI have amazing followings. On the hottest days and evenings of the summer, locals will line up for the better part of an hour to place an order. Longer waits don't deter crowds. Ordering an ice cream to go is a summer ritual locals and visitors embrace.