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Yellowknife ice cream man MIA
Tamer Akbulut rides his ice cream truck to Yellowknife this July

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Monday, July 1, 2013

"When you're tired and you're hungry and you want something cool, got something better than a swimming pool" - sung ice cream man Tom Waits in 1972.

NNSL photo/graphic

Ice cream man Tamer "Tim" Akbulut prepares a vanilla swirl cone inside his truck last summer in Yellowknife. - NNSL file photo

Many Yellowknifers would agree, but they'll have to wait a little longer for their own ice cream man, Tamer Akbulut. He's scooping cones in Lethbridge, Alta., and won't be up here until mid-July. His absence is raising questions.

During Monday's record-breaking heat, Shane Riley tweeted: "Where is the ice cream truck? Did he leave town?" and "might have to call RCMP and ask them to issue an APB for cold slushies and ice cream!"

And it's not just the ice cream Yellowknifers yearn for. Jan Skeffington said she told her daughter Kate, 3, the ice cream truck was a "music truck," so she wouldn't be tempted to go for the sugary snacks.

"It's kind of nice to have around. It's the mark of the beginning of summer to hear the music," Skeffington said.

Akbulut, the only ice cream truck driver in Yellowknife, headed to Lethbridge in early May, hoping to get an early start on the ice cream season. He wanted to catch some warm southern weather, but things have been kind of soggy in southern Alberta this spring.

"Now I'm watching the weather forecast and Yellowknife is pretty good right now," Akbulut said over the phone in Lethbridge.

Akbulut has been slinging cool treats to Yellowknifers since 2007 and although he lives the winter months in Bulgaria, he calls Yellowknife home.

He said he's glad people have been asking for him in Yellowknife, but he's only one man with one truck.

"It's very difficult to attend all the festivals, I'm trying to catch as much as possible and get back in Yellowknife in time," Akbulut said.

He's planning on going to a few more events near Lethbridge, but then he'll hit the road north.

"I'm going straight to Yellowknife."

He hopes his ice cream van, a 1973 GMC ex-Canada Post mail truck, will make the journey.

"I just recently watched the odometer roll back to zero. It's maxed a few times."

Akbulut has spoken with the organizer of the Folk on the Rocks festival -- which starts July 18 -- and plans on selling ice cream there. The heat in Yellowknife might even get him up here before that, as early as July 10.

"It's exciting, it sounds pretty nice up there now, I'd like to join Yellowknife in such nice weather."

Until he does, Yellowknife will have to do without his familiar jingle.

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