Tea Grannys & Friends
Victorian Tea Experience
Est. 1999

Toronto Sun

Celebrating Our 25th Year

"Tea Memories Since 1999"

Take a short drive to Victorian times

Enjoy Tea Experience with all the trimmings at Tea Granny's


Kimberly Chant-Allin has made a career out of serving Tea Experience in her modern farm home on hilly Newtonville Rd., east of Oshawa and 54 km from Toronto.

Her farmer-husband, Ivan, often acts as butler as Kimberly, in 1800s costume, recreates the full ceremony of Tea Experience as it was during the reign of Queen Victoria and into the early 1900s.

Residents from Toronto to Kingston, and often visitors from Europe and the United States, come to Tea Granny and Friends for a hearty, but formal, four-course mid-afternoon snack that consists of fruit, four kinds of dainty sandwiches, hot fresh-baked scones and homemade shortbreads.

The cost is $15.95 a person plus tax, with an extra $1.50 if you want thick Devonshire cream and $4 for the services of a walk-in teacup reader. You must make a reservation, usually 48 hours ahead.

Patrons select a teapot from an assortment of 50 or so bone-china pots and find themselves taking part in an event, rather than just a meal, seated at a lace-covered table in a room with a year-round Christmas tree decorated with teacups.

From early girlhood in Toronto, Kimberly has been fascinated by the Victorian era -- particularly tea drinking and the traditions that grew around it. Information sheets at her two-person tables tell how Tea Experience was popularized by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who observed that it was a long time between meals and demanded a little something in mid-afternoon to keep up her strength until dinner.

The Tea and Etiquette pamphlets explain the difference between Tea Experience and "high tea" -- the latter a meal served late in the day or early in the evening.

When not handing out delicate tea cups and three-tiered cake platters, Ivan Allin grows soy beans and spelt, a variety of wheat, on 51 hectares. His family has been farming in the Oshawa area since 1852. He and Kimberly met at a Whitby roller-skating rink and moved to their present home in 2001.

To make a reservation, call 905-983-5816. The website is teagrannysandfriends.com.