The bus turned onto Pleasant Street. … But Pleasant Street didn’t seem very pleasant at all. There was a jangle of ugly, grim metal warehouses, a dusty recycling plant and, at the far end, a huge towering pile of rusted car parts that loomed like some kind of nightmarish mountain. But it was the right street…And right in the middle was Point Ellice House, the only house on the entire street. Somehow the garden still managed to seem hushed and peaceful. Tall trees screened out the rest of Pleasant Street. There were carefully manicured lawns, flower beds edged with thick, ivy  borders and a sweeping, gravelled driveway. It was a house that sat comfortably in the garden, the way a contented cat curls into a warm and sunny spot.

The Olden Days Locket by Penny Chamberlain (page 8&9)


POINT ELLICE HOUSE is a gem! Trees, shrubs and bushes seclude this 1861 home from the 21st Century. Behind the foliage one is swept back to the late 1800’s where afternoon tea was served on the back lawn after a game of lawn tennis or a brisk game of croquet. The Arbutus trees shields one from the direct sun and the intoxicating smell comes from roses that are roses in more than name only.  The O”Reillys lived in the house for over a 100 years from 1867-1975.

Relaxing on the back lawn after a game of tennis.

“When the O’Reillys lived here, this neighbourhood was very different. There were beautiful homes on both sides of the Grange. And there were dinner parties, and boating parties and tennis tournaments and afternoon teas. It was a genteel neighbourhood and a lovely way of life.” The Olden Days Locket pg.9 & 10

The back lawn now….still used for afternoon tea and croquet.

The Point Ellice House hosts a Picnic Afternoon Tea.  I phoned and made a reservation for Lil and I for the Saturday. On our arrival we were asked if we would like a tour of the house (for an extra $8.00) before our tea and we immediately said “Yes”. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the former owners, the eras in which they lived and the possessions which were left in the house. The last of the O’Reillys sold the house to the BC government lock, stock and barrel which not only included furnishings and clothing but newspapers, receipts and diaries dating back 90 years.

THE HOUSE: Designed by John Wright in the Italianate style, the house is a single story dwelling with gables.

Dining Room with set with Minton “King’s Border” China. Notice the wicker shields that are fitted over the chairs. They would protect the guests from the heat of the fire.

The Drawing Room:  This was a stunning room; rich in fabric, furniture and gold trim.

Butler’s Pantry where more of the Minton china was kept.

The kitchen: Coal and wood were used to fuel the cast iron French Range. It was made in Victoria at the Albion Iron Works.

A Bedroom


Faux Marble Wallpaper with pencil lines drawn on top to imitate marble blocks.

THE GARDENS: The gardens “…contain one of the finest Victorian-style gardens in Western Canada.” (Point Ellice House)

Kitchen Garden

Rose Garden…. beautiful fragrances!

Hollyhock Garden: so lovely!


The picnic tea is so named because it is catered by Truffles Catering and arrives in a cardboard box. Tea/coffee is served in a paper cup and the delicacies are eaten off a paper plate. Why??? We asked that question. Point Ellice House does not have a kitchen or more specifically an industrial dishwasher so they are not allowed to serve food and beverage in washable containers. They must serve them on disposable containers. What a shame because the afternoon tea was absolutely delicious. The tea included savoury finger sandwiches (egg and cress, BC smoked salmon with cream cheese and coronation chicken),  scones, awesome white and dark chocolate truffles, summer tartlet (fabulous), macarons and a lemon slice. Our gratitude and applause go to Truffles Catering for creating a very tasty repast!! (Please note: Afternoon tea must be reserved 48 hours in advance.)

Afternoon Tea can be served in the Barn or on the back lawn. It was a coolish day so we opted for the Barn.

The Barn


The secret vintage shop sells wares from as far away as England. Many items are available for purchase including tea services, quilts, embroidered linen tablecloths, purses and pillows.

Lil and I had such fun exploring each nook and cranny. I discovered (and bought)a lovely quilt, a linen tablecloth and four crisp tea napkins.

BONUS: VICTORIA Harbour Ferry and Water Taxi makes a stop at Point Ellice House during the summer.

Stop for a tour of the house and gardens, make reservations for afternoon tea (must be made 48 hours in advance), and/or peruse the vintage shop. A lovely way to spend a summer afternoon in Victoria. And as one young man stated as he entered the Barn, “This is a hidden gem”. It certainly is, come and discover it!!


Point Ellice House and Gardens
2616 Pleasant Street
Victoria BC



M-W closed
Th-Sun 11-4pm

Books of interest:

Point Ellice House: A Victorian Household

The Olden Days Locket by Penny Chamberlain





VENUS SOPHIA – Tea Room & Vegetarian Eatery

“When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

On a rainy, blustery Saturday, I met with a university friend for a long walk on Dallas Road. As we neared the end of our walk my friend suggested that we sup at the Venus Sophia. “The Venus Sophia?” I queried, “what is that?” “It is a quaint restaurant that serves afternoon tea and lunches located in Chinatown,” was her reply. As soon as I heard afternoon tea I was in. Really, what is more civilized and more soothing than sitting down to a plate of savouries and sweets with a steaming pot of tea placed in front of you.

Venus Sophia is a vegetarian tea room and cafe. There are cosy nooks and upholstered chairs to lounge in as your meal is served. The restaurant has the ambience of an English sitting room with cushions, lamps and pictures scattered throughout.


The Sweetheart Afternoon Tea was in honour of Valentines Day. The Signature Tea is served daily.


The finger sandwiches were tasty (all with vegetarian fillings) and the cranberry scones were delicious. The sweets were not too sweet. On the second tier there are chocolate covered strawberries.


Ah!! I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my friend and her hubby enjoying their tea.


Venus Sophia Tea Room and Vegetarian Eatery
540 Fisgard St,
Victoria, BC

(250) 590-3953

Wed-Sun 11:00-6:00

White Heather Tea Room

“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 On a beautiful west coast summer day Lil and I visited the White Heather Tea Room. The tables were dressed in white linen cloths and adorned with china cups and saucers, sugar and creamer and white napkins. I yearned for a beautiful garden hat and white gloves to complete the setting.White Heather Tea Room


After perusing the menu we decided to go big and ordered The Big Muckle Giant Tea (for two). The highlights of the Big Muckle were the warm (freshly baked) scones, mini cheese scone with smoked salmon, a savoury surprise, tea sandwiches and the fresh baking. The tea was delicious and though we have hearty appetites we had to pack some of the baked items home.


White Heather Tea Room

White Heather Teahouse 3

White Heather Tea Room
1885 Oak Bay Avenue
Victoria, BC



Tues-Sat. 10:00-5:00

Closed Sun & Mon