Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Everything stops for Tea

Last Sunday Den and I went on a quest. Could have had something to do with an article on general stores, can't say.

 Lunch at "The Old Ormsby Schoolhouse" had been suggested. Sun and snow and twisty deep forest roads give one an appetite. Just off the highway to Coe Hill, on the Old Hastings Road, this lovingly restored (1921) school building, S.S.#1 Limerick offers a warm invitation not to be declined.What an absolute treasure of a place it is!

 Owner and carrot cake chef Ernie Pattison told us the story of the school-house. He and his wife-to-be, both musicians, purchased and renovated the tired building in time for their own 1997 wedding reception. And brides think deciding on the music and flowers is hard work!! There's a photo of Debbie in her wedding dress, playing fiddle at their reception.  Ernie and Debbie keep the schoolhouse open all year (weekends only in winter) for lunches and high teas (a graceful flotilla  of three-tier china cake plates awaits), and can cater large parties and events. Great spot for a teacher's wedding reception.

The Old Ormsby Schoolhouse is an utter treat for nostalgia nuts. Displays of old school-books, local histories and archival photographs, student and teacher desks, old Neilson's wall maps, a real wood-burning stove and pressed tin ceilings and walls, wainscoating and tall sash windows, even the hand-washing centre I remember from our childhood one-room schoolhouse (trotted out on days when the inspector visited)!

 Den is having a real cuppa from a real (china) cup, waiting for a beautiful home-cooked lunch to inkling of the battle of wills resisting the carrot cake would later entail. A sign in the front window reads "No carrot cake or other valuables stored on the premises overnight."

You must see this place!


  1. As one of the population of 20 people who live in historic 'downtown' Ormsby, it was a pleasure to read about your visit. Lovely photos and as delightful a recounting as a visit to Ernie's establishment is itself. While my wife does prefer the carrot cake, I'm not quite so health conscious (?!) and go for the chocolate-banana cake. Thank you for visiting our wee hamlet.

  2. I'll put chocolate-banana cake on my list for next visit! Looking forward to reading about your own Ormsby establishment - The Old Hastings Mercantile and Gallery - in the next issue of Country Roads magazine. Thanks again to Lillian for her wonderful hospitality on our afternoon in downtown Ormsby.

  3. I never miss an opportunity to spend time at The Old School House in Ormsby,I love all the memorabilia and being able to have dinner or lunch is just added bliss! Its true that the desserts are amazing but the dinners are the reason I go. My favorite is the beef tenderloin with Yorkshire pudding. I hI ave tried just about everything on the menu over the years, It is comfort food on an upscale level,and reasonably priced. They also have a great selection of vegetarian options for my wife.
    The staff is very friendly and efficient, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting.
    We especially enjoy when Ernie has the lamplight suppers.
    I am looking forward to our next visit, as always!
    Johnathan Adley Tucker