This little gem is located on St. Joseph Island in northern Ontario, Canada – not far from where I am staying for the summer. It is an old school-house repurposed as a tea room and it is up for sale!
My fellow Canadian house aficionado Marie Hunter (who lives part-time on the island) showed me around and the Harmony Tea Room was one of our stops.
Harmony School was a one-room school-house that serviced the immediate area of St. Joseph Island (corner of A Line and I Line roads) from 1899 until 1964.
After the 1960’s the structure was used as a church hall, a seasonal residence, and a pool hall until it was purchased in 2004 and lovingly restored by its current owners – Harold and Pam Cooper (shown below with me in early July 2013)
Historic photo of the Harmony School:
I was delighted to learn that co-owner Harold Cooper, a long-time resident of the island, actually attended school in this very school-house in the 1950’s! His wife Pam is a retired educator and they have collected a great deal of antique schoolhouse memorabilia which is displayed at their business.
Have a look inside…
These photos were taken right after Canada’s birthday celebration (July 1st for my non-Canadian readers) hence the Canada flag decorations.
The beautiful tin ceilings are original to the structure. They were in rough shape when the current owners purchased the building so Pam & Harold spent months scraping, cleaning and restoring them.
After 8 years of running the Tea House, the Coopers are ready for retirement (for real this time) so they are selling the business as a “turn-key operation” hopefully to new owners who will continue the old school-house tea room tradition.
That’s not just a wall ornament [above] – it is the school-house’s original phone that still works! Pam told me that it rang during the remodeling phase and she answered it and heard two people on the line (party line?) talking about bagging a deer.
Above is the original water hand-pump that is also still functional.
The walls are filled with school-house memorabilia…
There are photos of the first headmaster and other historic documents on display…
And look at these antique roll-down school maps:
Below is the new kitchen, which most guests don’t actually see because it is in the back addition of the school house:
Guests can also enjoy tea and a light lunch on the outdoor patio:
This darling place is looking for new caretakers to continue the thriving tea room business and to protect this amazing piece of island history.
For more information or to contact the owners about viewing this historic school-house, please visit the Harmony Tea Room website.