Oshawa, Ontario

The City of Oshawa has developed into a fast-growing city lots to offer - many recreational facilities, almost 27 km of trails, a vibrant downtown and a growing arts and culture community.


Ice Cream Soda Day - Any Day
By Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Finally! It’s summer! It’s hot! But, sometimes, too hot, even for a June day. So what better way to enjoy the heat and stay cool than to create the ultimate summer treat – the ice cream soda.

Did you know that there is a special day set aside for Ice Cream Sodas? June 20th is known as Ice Cream Soda Day. But don’t wait for June 20th to make this special treat. Also known, in my day anyway, as an ice cream float, it doesn’t take much effort to put together. ice cream soda All you need is a couple of scoops of ice cream and a carbonated drink. My favorite has always been vanilla ice cream in a tall glass of orange crush. Stick in the straw and sip it slowly. Very cooling and invigorating.

There was a time when you didn’t have to make it yourself. The corner drugstore was once the gathering place for young people, to visit and taste the latest combination of ice cream and carbonated beverages. Even in my growing-up days, the 1960s, there were soda counters in corner stores, usually in cottage country.

I remember begging, almost daily, to walk down to the General Store, just around the corner from our cottage in Port Ryerse, and about half way between the cottage and the beach. With white wood siding and large picture windows, in the classic saltbox shape, this was a popular gathering place for young and old alike. The old General Store still exists in Port Ryerse, but it’s now a private home.

In my day, and oh how I cringed when my grandmother used to start with that line. However, it is true, in my day, the General Store was very much a general convenience store, complete with open cartons of penny candy, and an ice cream counter complete with all the ingredients necessary, no essential, to the making of a great ice cream soda or an equally delicious ice cream cone.

Gran was more easily convinced to a visit to the General Store than Mom or Dad. She enjoyed ice cream treats as much as we children did. While we often chose an ice cream soda over an ice cream cone, she always went for the cone and always chocolate. I would enjoy my soda and, sometimes too, a lick or two of her ice cream. And, if we had been really good that day, or just lucky, we were each given a couple of pennies to select some penny candy from the bins. No concerns about dirty, sticky hands, or bugs and rodents interfering.

Gran always claimed, “You’ll eat more than a peck of dirt in your life.” So, clean hands or dirty, into the uncovered bins full of unwrapped candy we dug, filling a small paper bag with our selection to be counted and priced at the counter. We used to get quite a few candies for just pennies in those days. And we always worked off our sugar highs running around the cottage or chasing each other at the beach.

Ice Cream Soda Day? Why not? But perhaps every hot summer day should be an Ice Cream Soda Day, not just June 20th. It’s easy enough to make yourself, even if there no longer are the corner stores with the soda pop counters.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford has published several books, creative nonfiction stories mostly about her family, including stories about summers spent at the cottage in Port Ryerse. More Port Ryerse stories can be found in Personal Notes (Moose Hide Books 2008), which is her grandmother’s story, and her award-winning book, F-Stop: A Life in Pictures (Baico 2011), which is her mother’s story. F-Stop: A Life in Pictures was named Finalist and received the Silver Medal in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. For more information about the author, check out her webpage at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca