I have spent the majority of my life living in a medium sized lakeside city, called Burlington, which is just outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Burlington has been tagged one of the top 5 cities to live in within the entire country of Canada and I really do feel quite blessed to have been raised in this beautiful, friendly town. I have moved from Burlington, to Toronto, back to Burlington, back to Toronto, and all of that once more since residing here again with my son for the past 2 years. My parents still live here, in the home I spent my teen-aged years in. River is now lucky enough to enjoy the over-sized backyard that they take great pride in caring for. It is full of life in the summer, full of truly fantastic 100 year old trees and covered in a gorgeous canopy of fresh green foliage. They have a thriving vegetable and fruit garden larger than any backyard that I ever had in Toronto, 3 bustling bee hives and a lovely array of Canadian wildlife visitors; all of whom River loves receiving visits from. He and I are so lucky that he has exposure to all of that, consistently, in his young life. Learning to care for plants, learn and recognize herbs and lettuces, fruits and vegetables. Picking his own food and eating it fresh from the earth. He watches the work ethic of the bees, the non existent ego of the community, working away for the greater good; something incredible that we could all learn from. I am so happy from the very depths of me that this experience exists for him just a few blocks away from us in town.
We are also very lucky to have wonderful schools to choose from here in town. River starts his first day of Jr. Kindergarten (more like pre-school) tomorrow, in a lovely and rich environment that mirrors the sort of kind and creative upbringing that I strive to create for him at home. The Halton Waldorf School is one of the reasons that we can exist here so comfortably. Although there are locations in other cities, this one happens to be just up the street (biking distance as a matter of fact), and full of familiar old faces from the days that I attended a Waldorf School many, many moons ago.
The downtown core of Burlington is one of my favorites of all of the towns that I have seen in my life. It is lakeside, gorgeous, well kept and bursting with personality. Within the last couple of years especially, it has flourished into a busy core of delicious restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, weekend craft and farmers markets as well boutiques of all sorts. Because of our lifestyle, we are often limited by the places that we can snack and eat in. But not here! Burlington has a thriving vegan community. It has been for decades, and continues to grow and grow. We have a few of the most incredibly delicious, award winning vegan restaurants and a bakery right here in our downtown core. Our favorite of all of these places is Kelly's Bake Shoppe, co-owned by a Mother/Daughter duo - Kelly Childs & Erinn Weatherbie. This bright and successful bake shop has been operating for about 2 years now. Fortunately for us, around the same time we moved back to town and just in time for River to be at the age where gets to have some special treats from time to time. This is our go to spot for ice cream in the summer and cupcakes, brownies or rice crispy squares in the winter; all of course, freshly baked, gluten free, nut free, soy free and vegan! This is amazing not just for vegans, but for those with dietary restrictions and allergies. It is an allergen free safe zone. Kids with nut allergies, dairy allergies, egg allergies, wheat allergies - all safely gather here and ENJOY Kelly and Erinn's amazing goodies.
Kelly's Bake Shoppe has won Best Bakery, Best Cupcakes and Best Desserts two years standing in all of Burlington. They were also given the title of Best Bakery and Best Dessert from The Toronto Vegetarian Association in 2013. This gorgeous duo is destroying the stereotype that gluten free, dairy free or egg free baked goods are any less delicious than their traditional versions (which happen to be chalk full of all the not so good stuff). I actually prefer most of their baked goods over the old classics, regardless of ingredients, and anyone I have given the taste test challenge to completely agrees.
River's most favorite item on the menu is only available during the summer months; Chocolate & Vanilla Soft Serve Swirl (usually I only let him have a few sprinkles on top, but for his astounding cooperation on photo day, I rewarded him with vegan Jelly Beans and Gummy Bears!). As the last days of summer are upon us, I feel a little bit sad that he won't have anymore ice cream sundaes until next year! I guess we'll just have to settle for cupcakes... rough life.
On an average day at Kelly's, you can choose from around 12 different flavors of cupcakes, an assortment of cookies, brownies (their Mile High Brownie is award winning - a bit too much for me, but I have heard it's delicious!), rice crispy squares, donuts & muffins. They also offer Balzac's Coffee and have a fantastic range of teas by Sloane Fine Tea Merchants. A freshly steeped cup of Heavenly Cream tea and half of a Lemon Cupcake is practically heaven (save the other half for later, or gobble it all up one go if you like!).
This bake shop is also in the habit of creating holiday and seasonal cupcake flavors. These are usually the most exciting and delicious of all (maybe because they are limited edition and you can only get your hands on them for a short period of time). It was August when I went I photographed these treats, and they had their successful Root Beer Float cupcake available. Truthfully, it was not my cup of tea, but whatever floats your boat! This month, they are welcoming the soon-to-be autumn season with a very cozy and "Canadiana" sounding cupcake flavor called Apple Crumble. It looks and sounds delicious!
Kelly's Bake Shoppe is located downtown Burlington, Ontario at 401 Brant Street. It is definitely worth a whole bunch of visits!
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Closed
Tuesday & Wednesday - 10 am - 6 pm
Thursday & Friday - 10 am to 9 pm
Saturday - 9 am to 9 pm
Sunday - 11 am to 5 pm
If you aren't already following me on Instagram, please make sure to do so! In celebration of all things cupcakes and especially the incredibly divine creations at Kelly's Bake Shoppe, I am giving away a $50.00 gift card for Kelly's Bake Shoppe as an Instagram Giveaway! Please follow @caitmizzi @flourchildca and @kellysbake for more details!