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Enjoy a high tea experience on shores of Lake Simcoe (VIDEO)

Parisienne, a French bakery in nearby Friday Harbour, offers the popular tradition of tea, scones, cakes and finger sandwiches


Set along the boardwalk at Friday Harbour Resort is Parisienne, a French bakery with sweet aromas that can be smelled from miles away. 

It's also the only spot in Innisfil, that offers a high tea experience. 

Also known as the traditional afternoon tea or low tea, which originated in England in the mid-19th century, high tea encompasses a small meal of pastries such as scones and cakes, topped with Devonshire cream alongside finger sandwiches and a spot of tea. The tea was originally served on low tables, which is how it also got the moniker low tea. 

Over the years it became a fancy, social trend, most often enjoyed in the late afternoon by the upper class who would wear gowns and other fancy attire for the occasion.  

The tradition carries into present day with many locations in the GTA offering high tea menus, such as the King Edward Hotel, The Old Mill and the Fairmont Royal York. There are not many in Simcoe County, which is why Kristina Gladyr, owner of Parisienne decided to add the experience to her little bakery's menu. 

"You don't get too many reasons to dress up and get out," she said. 

Parisienne offers four different high tea menu options, from a smaller fare of tea and scones with whipped cream all the way to a full tea of tea, mini sandwiches, assorted sweets, whipped cream, and assorted fruits.

Gladyr says the afternoon tea experience has become quite popular and recommends booking a visit during the weekday when it's less busy. 

Originally from Ukraine, Gladyr has always had a passion for the culinary arts but she didn’t pursue it professionally until a few years ago, after winning a cooking contest and a full-on scholarship to Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa. 

She had left her job in health-care management, moved to the nation’s capital and pursued the program full time. 

“It was super interesting,” she said of her schooling experience. 

After she graduated, she worked in restaurants and bakeries in the area before deciding she wanted to focus her skills on French cuisine. She returned to the GTA, where she enrolled in more culinary courses at George Brown College and even some in Europe.

“We learned how to do fancy cuisine and fine dining,” she said. 

Gladyr is also trained in cake decorating, which she says is beneficial when hosting birthdays, showers and other celebrations at the bakery. 

"Having this unique training allows me to be versatile for clients," she said. 

After a long, thoughtful search in finding “the perfect spot” to open her own bakery, and repeated construction delays due to the pandemic, Gladyr was finally able to open her boutique bakery at Friday Harbour Resort along the boardwalk in March 2022. 

After signing her lease at the resort, she moved from Ottawa to Alcona with her husband and their young daughter. She says they have all been enjoying their first year in town so far.

And while Gladyr loves doing what she loves for a living, she admits it's a lot of work, putting in anywhere from 12 to 15 hours a day at the bakery. 

"Starting a new business, I don't get to take a break," she said. 

Gladyr's days start at around 4:30 a.m. to get a head start on her baking. 

"Everything is made on site. I bake everything and I have a few assistants," she said.  

The oven is turned on as soon as she arrives. 

"I have a big oven, it takes me almost two hours to heat up," she said. She and the staff then begin baking bread (mostly sourdoughs) at around 7 a.m. 

Parisienne offers other French-inspired menu items like weekend breakfasts of French toast, eggs benedict and crepes. In the colder months, she makes a lot of soups like mushroom and French Onion. 

"Everything you would normally have in France I try to serve it here," she said. 

To learn more about Parisienne and view the menu options, visit the website here

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Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is the Editor for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats.
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