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!

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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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