Mill Pond Tea House’s name is derived from the pond on the Little Saskatchewan River which runs through Rapid City, Manitoba. In 1878 the residents decided they needed a grist mill and a sawmill so they built a dam to form a pond to have the river water run the water wheels required for the mills. Later on the pond ran a woollen mill and a flour mill as well as being used to generate electricity.
“Mill Pond Tea House was originally a church built in 1940 by the Free Methodist congregation. It consisted of a sanctuary at the front and two rooms at the back for the minister. In 1946 an additional room was added to the minister’s quarters. I believe the minister who arrived at that time was married and needed more space. In 1963 the congregation moved to Brandon and it sold the church to my parents John and Margaret Northam. Dad renovated the church into our family’s home and later on he built an addition to our house. It has remained in our family since. When Faye and I were renovating the tea house we found the original plank floor beneath several layers of flooring. It was in good condition and we feel it’s a perfect fit to the décor of the tea house,” said owner Linda Black.
Faye MacLachlan and Linda Black partnered up to operate the tea house after retiring from their careers at Westman Lab and Manitoba Hydro in Brandon. The tea house includes a gift shop with small quantities of unique articles such as wall hangings, jewelry, purses and exotic teas. They are constantly bringing in new items to keep things fresh and interesting.
“We are open Thursday and Sunday from 1 till 4 p. m. for desserts and beverages. Friday and Saturday we open at 10 a. m. for lunch, which consists of a choice of two homemade soups and sandwiches plus at least three desserts. We post the menu for the week on our website. We carry 10 flavours of ice cream which are available to customers during our regular daytime hours, plus Wednesday and Saturday evenings we are open for ice-cream sales from 7 till 9,” said Black.
“We opened the tea house to be a place for people to relax, visit and have a good time. Our motto above our picture window is, ‘Pause, Breathe, Relax.’ We hope to work on the side yard over the summer if it ever quits raining, so people can go out and relax in the yard,” said Black.
If you are planning a visit to the tea house I recommend you phone for a reservation, as the day I visited there was a full house. Contact them at 204-826-2597. They have already had guests from the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta after being open less than six weeks. Check out their website at www.millpondteahouse.com,which includes a map with the location of the tea house marked. – Joan Airey writes from Rivers, Manitoba