'Icecream Charlie' likely to return

Vanilla Ice truck to return to city centre

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 16/09/2013
 Raewyn and George Taylor
KIRK HARGREAVES

READY TO GO: Raewyn and George Taylor who run Christchurch’s iconic Vanilla Ice cart, look forward to eventually returning to Victoria Square.

 Raewyn and George Taylor
KIRK HARGREAVES
LONG HISTORY: The Taylors are the fourth owners of the historic ''Ice Cream Charlie'' business, started by Sali Mahomet in 1903.

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Christchurch's iconic Vanilla Ice truck will return to Victoria Square, but it will likely take another year.

Owners Raewyn and George Taylor say they cannot return to their now landmark Armagh St spot until the 13-storey Victoria Apartments come down, and possibly once the future of Forsyth Barr is determined.

They cannot simply shift to another site because they require three-phase power.

In the meantime, the couple has been enjoying their first extended holiday in 16 years, including trips around the country and visiting family in Australia.

They were managing financially thanks to savings and George Taylor's pension.

"It's been a waiting game," Raewyn Taylor said.

The icecream cart has a long history in the city.

What people still call "Icecream Charlie" today dates to 1903, when Sali Mahomet started making icecream in a dairy behind his Caledonian Rd, St Albans, home and selling it from his cart in Cathedral Square.

George Taylor, a bricklayer by trade, bought his wife a Mr Whippy truck, but when they heard the Vanilla Ice business - along with the secret recipe - was for sale in 1999, they jumped.

At the height of summer business they were selling up to 6000 icecreams a week.

The couple had taken the day off on February 22, 2011, because it had rained in the morning. Raewyn Taylor said they had been fielding near-daily inquiries as to when they would reopen since.

George Taylor said the latest he had heard was that demolition would start on the Victoria Apartments as early as Christmas.

As they do not work over winter, they hope to be back in September next year.

"It soon comes around," he said.

"We just go with the flow. We will let [people] know when we start," Raewyn Taylor said.

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