tea at the tollhouse

The invi­ta­tion was nailed to the tree and the neigh­bour­hood was wel­come to come for tea on Vic­to­ria Day :D

We had been want­i­ng to vis­it the Tol­l­keep­er’s Cot­tage Muse­um for a while now, and the Vic­to­ri­an Tea gave us the per­fect excuse to final­ly make our way there on the long week­end (I’ve always want­ed to try scones with clot­ted cream!).

We drove by it a num­ber of times (well, rid­ing in oth­er peo­ple’s vehi­cles, since we don’t own a vehi­cle) and I nev­er real­ized that it was a muse­um until we saw its brochure at anoth­er muse­um. This toll­house was built around 1835, and the entire struc­ture was built from one local pine tree! The orig­i­nal planks are dis­played on the side of the museum.

It was orig­i­nal­ly locat­ed on Dav­en­port Road, one of Canada’s old­est route. The his­to­ry of the road itself is actu­al­ly pret­ty fas­ci­nat­ing. It came into being when the First Nation Peo­ple used the route to trav­el from Mon­tre­al to Nia­gara at the end of the Ice Ages. It’s now about 6km from the lake, but it was once the shore­line of Lake Iro­quois (now Lake Ontario)! It blew my mind to think about how all of that land (and all the side­walks and streets and sub­way stops that I fre­quent) was once submerged.

In the 1800s tolls were col­lect­ed by com­pa­nies that built and main­tain the roads. This is the lit­tle win­dow where the tol­l­keep­er col­lect­ed tolls, from about 1835 to 1895.

Alright! Enough with the his­to­ry for now, though I do enjoy it very much, but tea and delec­table pas­tries await us! Look at this spread, and the sil­ver teapots! No Toll House cook­ies, though :P  (Did you know that Toll House cook­ies were invent­ed by a woman whose fam­i­ly oper­at­ed a toll­hous an inn that used to be a toll house? Any­way, I digress…)

And the teacups were so beautiful…

And final­ly, home-baked scones, with clot­ted cream!

We’ve heard lots about clot­ted cream but have nev­er had it. Mike thought it would be kind of like cot­tage cheese, and I thought it would taste like but­ter­milk, but it actu­al­ly tast­ed more like real­ly thick whipped cream, which was absolute­ly deli­cious and makes me want to have it every morn­ing with toast.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we for­got to ask the muse­um staff where she got the clot­ted cream. I lat­er tried to see where one could buy clot­ted cream in the city, but appar­ent­ly because it’s made with unpas­teur­ized milk it can’t be sold in Ontario. Though I did find recipes for “mock” clot­ted cream, like this one involv­ing sour cream, and this fanci­er one involv­ing mas­car­pone  cheese and lemon zest, which were quite intrigu­ing. I might make some for a tea par­ty one day!

We did more tour­ing after we had some tea and scones. I won’t bore you with all the pho­tos I took, but the more notable ones include this apple peel­er, a nice, sculp­tur­al piece of machinery.

There were cer­tain sec­tions in the wall that showed the orig­i­nal brick and plas­ter wall. The staff docent told us that the plas­ter was made of horse hair, earth, and ox blood, because ox blood con­geals quicker.

Hap­py birth­day to Queen Victoria!

The staff docent also let me hold one of the chick­ens for a pic­ture on the front porch. The one I was hold­ing did­n’t have a name, but the one sit­ting on the table is called Bostune (I think that’s how it’s spelled).

And yes, I even wore my gar­den par­ty out­fit for the occa­sion :D

Before we left we wan­dered into the back­yard (which is actu­al­ly a city park, I think), and I spot­ted a giant mush­room grow­ing on a piece of chopped wood!

At night, we enjoyed some love­ly fire­work dis­plays on our balcony.

‘Twas a love­ly week­end :D

I like to vis­it his­toric hous­es and loi­ter in their living/kitchen area and pre­tend that I’m liv­ing in the past, and we’ve had a love­ly vis­it at the Tol­l­keep­er’s Cot­tage. It’s a quaint lit­tle house but root­ed in so much his­to­ry, and the muse­um staff were so friend­ly and extreme­ly knowl­edge­able. Plus after vis­it­ing the Toll­house one could wan­der over to Casa Loma and Spad­i­na House and enjoy their beau­ti­ful spring gar­dens… Oooh! This com­ing week­end is Doors Open Toron­to and one could get into all of those muse­ums for free! Def­i­nite­ly worth a vis­it if you’re in the neighbourhood!

Have a won­der­ful Wednes­day, everyone!

2 thoughts on “tea at the tollhouse

  1. The first time I had clot­ted cream was years ago at the Empress Hotel in Vic­to­ria, BC. They called it Devon­shire cream; think that must be a par­tic­u­lar brand. Yes, it is rather good, ha! Let us know how your mock clot­ted cream recipes turn out!

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