From B&B to tea
Old Town business will offer more than just a place to rest

Catherine Gillis
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Apr 26/00) - For Mary Bryant, investing in Yellowknife's Old Town is paying off.

Mary, who opened Bayside Bed and Breakfast in October 1996, with her husband, Wayne, decided to expand the business to include a tea room. The tea room, called Mary and Friends, is set to open the first week of May.

"Old Town is such a lovely place, the scenery is so inspiring.

"Mary and Friends will be open to everyone, our bed and breakfast customers, residents, and it will definitely be open to tourists,"she said.

"Mary and Friends is not only going to be a place to come and drink tea. We will also have a breakfast and lunch menu."

The name of the tea room resulted from all the help Mary has been receiving from friends.

"My friends are incredibly important to me. Everyone has taken much interest in making this happen.

"I just couldn't do this without the support of my friends," she said.

With the cost of expansion, Mary hopes the financial risk will be worth it.

"We had to believe that this idea was going to work, and hopefully, we will get a lot of business," she said.

"One day, this spot will be a historical part of Old Town. Old Town is such a beautiful and friendly place. Old Town is the spirit and the essence of Yellowknife."

Besides great food, Mary hopes to serve up some great entertainment in the tea room including musicians and poetry readings. And for some mystical fare -- tarot, palm and tea readings.

To create a homey and relaxing atmosphere, the tea room features a china collection, beautiful fireweed curtains -- each one made by a different friend -- and a collection of dolls, cups and candles.

Before Mary and Friends, Mary used to open up a tea room every Sunday at the Old Brew Pub in Old Town. But then pub owner David Metcalfe decided to turn the location into his home.

"Every Sunday I was given the opportunity to turn the pub into a tea room. I would have to sweep up the peanuts, and open the doors to air out the smell of beer from the night before.

But people came because they liked the idea of having a tea room."

The door to Mary and Friends tea room will be open to visitors and tourists five days a week starting out.