What’s in the Tap Room?


The Halfway House is a very unique building here at the village. The Halfway House could be found on a stagecoach line between St. Lawrence Market in Toronto and the village of Dunbarton, near Pickering.  It was a great place to stay after a long journey, complete with a taproom to have a beer at the end of the day. Now, the Halfway House has a new lease on life as one of our most impressive historic buildings here at the village, and the site of the Black Creek Historic Brewery. This blog has showed you all the ins and outs of the historic brewery, so let’s shine a spotlight on a different part of Halfway – the taproom!

So what historic goodies can be found in our taproom? Let’s take a look:

Crokinole – Crokinole is a perfect choice as a taproom game, as it was thought to be invented in Ontario in 1876. Crokinole was a popular parlour game in the Victorian times, and is still played today. The game is similar to the idea of curling, with players sliding their pieces into the areas that get the most points.

Historic Glassware – So not all of this glassware is historic (definitely not the clear, modern looking glasses there) but check out those historic glass bottles! According to the Society for Historical Archaeology, black glassware such as the bottles in the taproom are some of the oldest types of colored glassware. Black glassware was excellent for keeping light from spoiling wine and beer, similar to brown or dark bottles today.

The Black Creek Gazette – So this is not a historic artifact, but a fun addition to the taproom. The “Black Creek Gazette” outlines some important late 19th century events that would have taken place around the time period of the village. It’s very interesting to see what was happening at the time, including the Civil War, labor movements, and of course Confederation!

Map of Upper Canada – As many of us know, Ontario was not always “Ontario” but “Upper Canada” instead. It was called Upper Canada due to its position relative to the Great Lakes. Our neighbor to the east, Quebec, was known as Lower Canada.

The Drunk Door – This is a really interesting one. This side door is thought to be a “drunk door.” So when someone got too drunk, instead of sending them out the front door of the inn (potentially harming the reputation of the establishment), they would instead be sent out of a side drunk door. I have never seen this door used before, but it would infact lead to the side of the building, out of sight from the main porch.

Nine Men’s Morris – This one is another taproom game you can find on our tables. However, Nine Men’s Morris has been around in some form or another since the ancient Roman times. Nine Men’s Morris was even referred to in the work of Shakespere.

So there you have it! This is definitely not the extent of the cool things you can find in the taproom, and in the rest of the Halfway House! Of course, you can also find the historic brewery in the lower level of Halfway as well. Come by and visit us!

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