Chocolate or vanilla? Moose tracks or bubble gum? Maybe you’re thinking, triple chocolate brownie quake or maybe you have a Black Raspberry thunder type of palate? These are some of the difficult decisions you’ll be forced to make when you step into Edward Cunnington’s “Dairy Dream” at 66 King. Like a scene straight out of Grease, Dairy Dream sucks you in and helps you escape into another area. Edward, being the humble shop owner that he is won’t tell you that ice cream runs in his blood but after speaking with him, we know better. A native of Cambridge England, Ed can remember being a young boy where, like many of us, his love for ice cream was born.
“I probably got it from my Mother. We’d spend the day at the Seaside and then go for ice creams before heading home.”
It wasn’t until ‘84 that Ed and his family made the trek from the North of England across the sea to our town of Cobourg to find new job opportunities. Being an immigrant he knew he needed to provide for his family and before long, Edward found himself in a situation where he felt that his work situation would be changing and he would need another job to supplement his income. It’s at that point that Ed had a dream.
“I’d always had a passion for it. I knew that much.”
The popular Ice cream shop at 66 King Street wasn’t always known as Dairy Dream. As Ed continued to share we’d learn that his dream was a bit of a familiar one. If you’ve read this far you have most likely thought it to yourself but Dairy Dream used to operate as the Dairy Queen kiosk on University Avenue. In 1989 Ed met with the owners at the time who were ready to move on to other things. Ed not only had a location picked out but knew just how he’d turn this franchise and his passion into a thriving business with a twist.
“I wanted to go back to my roots. Like it used to be when I was a boy”
If the decor made up of pink walls, flamingos, and stripes isn’t enough then the 50s inspired menu and music would be enough to transport you back to a different time, “a simpler time” as Ed would say. It’s different here – you can feel it. Ed wanted a place where he could do things how he wanted to do them. The ice cream shop that once served submarine sandwiches and shakes turned their focus to the cold stuff because they knew they wanted to do that one thing really, really well. If you’ve had a chance to taste the results we know you’ll agree. Maybe you’re thinking, “What makes Dairy Dream so special?” Well, we’re glad you asked. The ’50s-style inspired shop doubles as a classy stay-for-a-while coffee shop and are connected only by location. “Meet at 66” (a play on the location 66 King St) is the next-door neighbour of Dairy Dream and runs year-round.
“I don’t do muffins, I don’t do bagels, I don’t do toast.”
In the colder months when Ice Cream may not be as favourable, Ed and family go full throttle serving some of the best locally sourced, hand-picked coffee, desserts and sandwiches. At 66 everything is made fresh to order including the coffee. Sandwiches and sweets are created in the morning and are consumed by the evening.
Edward, more than anything, wants the shop to be known as a community space. When they made their official opening in 1990, Ed knew that that he wanted Dairy Dream to be a place where friends could come and pass the time. Where business people could come and conduct meetings. The tables and chairs don’t match and that’s okay because it’s the memories and the times people spend together that really matter. “People feel good when they come here” boasts Cunnington. He goes on to say that over the years, Dairy Dream has satisfied a need in the community and has maintained stability and balance for a lot of the regulars that visit and have come to call this place home. In the people business you become more important to people than what you realize. We’re an institution that is part of their lives and we like it that way.
“It’s a place where mothers bring daughters — fathers bring sons”