In the Beginning
In 1880 James Sommerville began construction of his large, stately home in a town called Lucknow (pronounced Luck-No). Located 214km (133 miles) northwest of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a trip to Lucknow brings you to an area of Ontario called Bruce County. Named after Lucknow, India, where the Indian Rebellion of 1857 took place, many streets bear the name of British Generals who took part in the campaign.
History abounds, with a strong Scottish heritage. This includes a nod to the Lucknow Caledonia Games champion wrestler, Donald Dennie, honoured on Lucknow’s welcome sign. Also, hockey legend Paul Henderson grew up here. Henderson, a professional hockey player, of course scored the winning goal in the Summit Series of 1972, to defeat the USSR.
Fast forward to today and the home that James Sommerville built, still stands. It’s now a unique bed and breakfast called Sommerville Court Bed and Breakfast. It changed over the years from a single-family home to a seven-unit apartment complex. Purchased in 1994, by its current owner Brenda Cathers and her son, they continued to operate the building as an apartment complex for almost ten years.
When significant renovations were needed, as is typical with older heritage buildings, Brenda and her son, decided to change direction and entertain the idea of a very large B&B. Thus, Sommerville Court was born.
With 12 guestrooms and nine washrooms the heritage home can accommodate up to 28 guests. The name of each room honors one of the town fathers. We stayed in the beautiful Sepoy Suite, complete with a king-size bed, fireplace and Jacuzzi. An additional guest room is in the plans to be called the Donald Dennie room with plans to decorate it in a Scottish style.
While each room is individually decorated, what gives the bed and breakfast life is its host. Brenda Cathers warmly welcomes all her guests, making you feel like part of her family. During our visit, we felt like we were staying with a long-lost aunt.
Breakfast, served each day in the dining room just off the kitchen, provides an opportunity to chat with other guests. The dining room is an antique lover’s dream, filled with cabinets showcasing Depression Era glass and china.
Wandering the hallways and other living spaces throughout the house find you making discoveries at every turn. According to Brenda, “Many years of garage sales, antique collecting and hoarding, as my kids would say, resulted in the ability to furnish all of these rooms and more.”
New Addition at Sommerville Court
A recent addition to the property is a new event building. The beautiful post and beam barn framework was dismantled by Amish carpenters near Goderich, Ontario and reconstructed at Sommerville Court.
The event room includes two lofts, sizable main floor space with a kitchenette, washroom, patio and a soon to be completed pergola. Brenda uses this space to host weddings, workshops, company meetings and recently listed her property on Ontario By Bike’s website.
Sommerville Court Bed and Breakfast offers a beautiful place to stay while you are taking day trips in the area. Indulge in the Ice Cream Trail, visit many lighthouses and beaches or enjoy the small towns along the way.
Asked about her favorite guests or moments, Brenda replied, “All my guests are special, but one elderly couple immediately comes to mind. Reunited after years of being alone, they appeared to be having more fun than two people should legally be able to have. She drove a little convertible MG, and as they sped out of the driveway, heading for the beach, I can still see the big smiles and waves. Oh, to be a kid-at-heart again.”
Sommerville Court Bed and Breakfast welcomes you to step back in history, feel right at home and enjoy the area.
When you go:
Sommerville Court is located at 287 Ross Street, Lucknow, Ontario, Canada
1-866-863-2557(toll free) or 1-519-357-7067
We were hosted for this stay. As always, all opinions expressed are our own. Members of ITWPA & IFWTWA. Host of the travel radio segment, Maple on The Map, on popcanradio.ca. Our writing can be found on voyagewriters.com.