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Apr. 21, 2019 | Sunday
Local News
Stories by Selina Appleby: Part 1 – B&B&B&B
Selina Appleby. (Supplied)

SUBMITTED BY SELINA APPLEBY.
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This original quaint historical town had become a trendy tourist town. People came for the allure of the shops and the theatre. Usually they came only for the day so an advertising campaign was launched to entice visitors to stay over-night or longer. The flow from the ads packed the town to capacity and therein lies the tale of the enormous proliferation of houses that offered Bed and Breakfast accommodation.

There were B&Bs for the swanky and B&Bs for the others. Some of the places were even offering accommodations for their dogs - Bed and Bone. Breakfast ranged from coffee and muffins to crepes, quiche, and layered French toast supreme. The plates were garnished with Monet-like scenes to match their designer gardens. It was said that at one home the lady of the house broke down in tears after learning that the couple never ate breakfast.

The flood gates were now open and it seemed that everyone wanted to visit this town. The B&B business flourished. Competition was keen as the proprietors designed more luxurious and innovative accommodations.

A couple arrived from the United States and renovated an old farm house at the edge of town and put a new spin on B&B. The house was furnished with exquisite Victorian furniture and oil paintings of American “aristocracy.” White lacy bedspreads and cushions adorned the four poster beds. Some of the guests left their cars in the town parking lot preferring to arrive by horse and buggy.

The atmosphere was complete when the lady and her husband bedecked in Victorian finery greeted the guests at the front door. He introduced himself as the butler and she as the lady of the manor.

It wasn’t until breakfast the next day that the true splendour of the setting became apparent. The table was set with gleaming silver, lace table cloth and glistening antique china. The flowers perched on top of a tiered plate of fancy bread, cheese and fruit. It was dazzling and dizzying. There were three couples who were strangers to each other but by the time breakfast was over they were bosom pals.

When they left, they all agreed a gorgeous time was had by all.

When the front door slammed shut and the last guest was gone, the Victorian-gowned lady and her tuxedoed butler pulled off their clothes laughing uproariously as they counted: two hundred, three hundred, four, five, six hundred dollars... money paid out for one night in a Barnum and Bailey B&B.

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Selina Appleby had a long and successful career as a researcher and story editor at CBC TV. She recently wrote a series of reflections which were compiled and published in her book entitled ‘Field of Empties’ which is available on Amazon. The material for this album of stories began in the thirties when she was a child living in downtown Toronto, just off Queen Street. She often climbed her garden fence to see the action at the corner saloon and on the surrounding streets, observing the daily struggles of the people in her community. Fifty years later Selina moved to another house just off of Queen Street, where she now looked out from her window at the tourist-drenched streets of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Forward by Hermine Steinberg, Writer’s Circle

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