On a recent trip to Kingston, Ontario, I visited Bellevue House. This home was built in 1841 by a leading merchant in the area. Fortunately for us, the home was rented in 1848 by the man who would become our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. This happy fact meant that the house was preserved to that time and is now a National Historic Site--open to the public.
Bellevue House is an early version of the Italianate style of architecture, and I was surprised to discover that then, as now, these new forms of home design were met with ridicule and derision. This beautiful new home was known to its neighbours as the “Tea Caddy Castle,” “Molasses Hall,” or “Pekoe Pagoda.” Can you tell the merchant was a grocer? Sir John A., on the other hand, thought it a wonderful house, and called it “the most fantastic concern imaginable.” Of course, Macdonald was a visionary--he is the father of our country, after all.
I made reservations for myself for the “tea and theatre” on Friday afternoon. Oh yes, I could get used to afternoon tea very happily, thank you. I even got to experience scones and clotted cream!