Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Try Afternoon Tea at Point Ellice House and Gardens in Victoria, B.C.

By Keith and Heather Nicol
Try the scones and tea
   On Monday, May 23 we decided to take in a Victoria tradition- having afternoon tea. But where to go?  Many places in Victoria have adopted “afternoon tea” as part of the city’s link to England but we were after a location surrounded with nice gardens so after some internet searching found Point Ellice House and Gardens. Point Ellice House is situated near downtown Victoria right on the Gorge waterway.  And a real bonus is the historic house built in 1861 which is now a museum and is home of North America’s largest collection of Victoriana furnishings!  So your trip here involves part afternoon tea and part historic tour of the house and grounds.

Tea is served in the garden of Point Ellice House
    Most people have tea first and this is followed by a tour. There are 2 choices for tea – a “full on” tea with sandwiches, desserts, scones and of course tea and a less elaborate option that features scones and tea. We opted for Kitty’s Cream Tea (the scones and tea option) and it was elegantly served by waitresses in period costume in the garden. 
Point Ellis House has a fine collection of Victoriana furnishings 
    Following “Tea” we were offered a guided tour of the house and grounds and we were very impressed by our guide, Shirley, a volunteer who has done much research of her own on the house and the O’Reilly’s who lived there. “Basically 3 generations of O’Reilly’s lived here and Peter O’Reilly was a gold rush magnate and commissionaire who with his wife would entertain the elite of Victoria and travelling dignitaries when they came to town. His wife Caroline was a good cook and a musician so Point Ellice House was a popular place to be invited for supper and entertainment in Victoria’s early years”. But what surprised us the most was that many of the furnishings from the 1800’s were still in the house so it is like stepping back in time. “The O’Reilly’s kept a lot of old household effects so when it finally sold to the Government of B.C. in 1975 as a museum and heritage house all the furnishing were all ready there” Shirley added. Point Ellice House is a National Heritage Site and is well worth a visit. You can opt to do just the tour of the house for ($6.00) but it is included when you buy one of the afternoon teas.   For more information see:
Heather admires the garden at the front of Pt Ellice House

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