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Beachconers and Britannia Coffeehouse. Photo: Bruce Burwell.

From ice cream to e-bikes, this intersection corners the market on summer

By Bruce Burwell on August 19, 2022


Sometimes a business picks a new location, and sometimes a location picks a new business. And in the case of the businesses at the corner of Howe and Britannia, it seems like the location has been doing all the picking.

Corner of Britannia and Howe. Photo: Jill M. Skinner/Twitter.

Howe and Britannia is at the eastern edge of Britannia Park, just south of Britannia Village. At the intersection, the bike path crosses the main road and runs right through the park. Because of the size of the park, and the residential streets clustered around it, there aren’t a lot of other places close to the popular beach that are available for retail ventures.

So what kind of business would this location demand? Clea Lipsett of Beachconers Microcreamery says, “The building came up for sale and the location screamed ice cream to us! We pictured it being a perfect destination for ice cream because people could walk around Britannia Park or Mud Lake with their cones instead of sitting in their car in a strip mall.”

Chill out at Beachconers. Photo: Bruce Burwell.

Beachconers are the anchor of the intersection. Apart from serving homemade ice cream and vegan soft serve, they run the very cute Britannia Coffee House in the same building. Currently its walls are decked out with a variety of old snowshoes—perhaps an homage to the Britannia Winter Trail, which runs along the bike path in the winter. In front of the building there are tables, umbrellas and a rainbow assortment of Muskoka chairs to lounge in and watch the world go by.

Beachconers and Britannia Coffeehouse. Photo: Bruce Burwell.

So other than ice cream and coffee, what else could bikers and beachgoers want? Last year, a bakery sprung up at the intersection facing the park. Britannia Bakeshop opened in the middle of COVID and sells a range of baked goods, preserves and gifts. The location had chosen once again.

OK, now think hard. What else could you sell right beside a bike path? What would bikers be interested in? You got it! Teslica e-bikes is located almost on the path. You can buy an e-bike and cycle off down the path without even touching a road. The biggest advantage to Teslica is that it’s super easy for those unfamiliar with e-bikes to take a test ride. Location, location, location.

Photo: Bruce Burwell.

Are there any downsides to being in such a seasonal location? Well, according to Lipsett, their ice cream business tails off significantly when the “weather is gloomy and cold… though we are seeing a slight increase with the Britannia Winter Trail being groomed for skiers.” Yup, a hot coffee on a ski day is always nice.

In the interests of citizen journalism, I sampled a scoop of Beachconers’ Britannia brownie ice cream in a sugar cone. I’ll be back to this location for more, even when the summer’s warmth is just a happy memory.