Want to Go for an Ice Cream?

Do people still go for Sunday afternoon drives that include a stop for an ice cream cone? Happened in my childhood and I suspect it is still a summer ritual. Over the years I’ve taken a couple of photos of places that sell ice cream and wish I’d paid more attention to the painted signs that promote the wares.

When searching through my photos I wondered if this 70s shop on the Eastern Shore (Issac’s Harbour, I believe) would have sold ice cream along with gasoline and Black Cat cigarettes.  And there was the 3D plastic cone next to the entrance.  Non-verbal communication at its most delightful. The sort of place you’d expect to find the old people’s favourite flavours, grape-nut and orange pine.


Another place for ice cream was the seasonal snack bar. Here is one in the 1970s  on the ferry wharf in Tiverton on Long Island, at the end of Digby Neck.  Hard to paint images of chicken or clams but  many folks are ready to produce a giant cutout of a soft serve cone.


This photo of the same location a couple of years ago shows how vernacular fast food architecture had evolved.


People waiting for ferries offer good potential customers. Surely this under-decorated stand at the Englishtown ferry sold ice cream as well as  pizza burgers.


I’m very fond of the decorative scheme used for this ice cream-only stand in Sheet Harbour.  And interesting to see the Scotsburn and Farmers cones together.


Here are a couple of slides I took in the 70s (but I don’t really remember where).  I like the care the sign painters took rendering the diamond patterns on the cones and shape of the top curl.

PICT0009 2 Ice cream signs

A more perfunctory  cone in Caledonia, Queens County.


Ice cream is a food of celebration and it deserves an over the top treatment like this fun-loving and helpful polar bear pointing to the ice cream stand in Musquodoboit Harbour.


The ice cream cone is a perfect food presentation because you eat the packaging, an idea that Tim Hortons should be working on. These days I suppose this cool weather means you don’t have to eat your treat so quickly.

Post script

  • Art lovers will recognize that the Sheet Harbour ice cream  stand, with its painted battens, resembles high art,  colour field paintings of the mid century. Sort of what  Maud Lewis’s house would look like if she had been familiar with the work of Bridget Riley. (A program idea for AGNS. You’re welcome).

August 201312

  •  We have often stopped for great value ice cream cones at the Dunromin campground outside Annapolis Royal. Don’t remember if they have a cone painting but there is a great aspirational fish.


A & K Lick-A-Chick has been legend in Cape Breton for several generations. The name has always been edgy which is the reason I took this photo in the 70s. Now their 65 cent banana split  is also really strange.  I believe that today you get ice cream across the road at Lick-A-Treat.  Times change.



About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.