Normally, on the second Sunday in March, there would still be snow on the ground and ice on the sidewalks – but this year the only ice was in cream form. Milky Way Ice Cream on Victoria Avenue had its earliest opening ever, beating the first official day of spring by a week.
The line didn’t seem to go down at all around noon at the little red and white shop. Some people just stopped on a whim after seeing the windows open, but some have been waiting for this since last year.
“The Milky Way means everything is right in the world,” said Patrick Stawarz. He was there with his two boys, and spent much of his time at the window chatting with the owner, while ordering his milkshake.
Stawarz said during the season he’ll be at the shop as many as five times a week.
“You drive by, and you see it all the time and you see the line-ups, and you just know it’s a good place.”
When asked what their favourite menu item is, most people would list some sort of ice cream – from floats to pistachio milkshakes, to cookie dough cyclones. But Stawarz’s favourite menu item isn’t ice cream at all.
“They have great chili dogs and chili burgers here.”
This year is also Milky Way’s 60th year in business. Carole Boldt owns the shop with her partner Anne. Boldt has worked there for 36 years. She’s a small, happy woman with a seemingly sweet demeanor – but what else can be expected from someone who works with ice cream?
Over her 36 years, Boldt has seen a lot of changes, but she said the biggest is her customers.
“We start out with a young couple, and they have children, and now their children are bringing their children”
Boldt said she’s excited to be back, and that she gets to see all her regulars again.
“When we see the people that we first started out with, it’s like ‘oh my gosh, you’re back!’ It’s like homecoming or a school reunion.”