Ivania Gozzola and her daughters and daughter-in-law Tina Benedet, Tami Comuzzi and Ida Gozzola started coming to The Secret Garden over 13 years ago. Ida first found the place and went in for lunch. She told the women in her family about it and Ivania suggested they all go back for high tea and since that first year they have come back every August.
“This became our regular once a year birthday party to celebrate us as moms,” said Tina. “Throughout the years we’ve never ever missed a year.” There was something about stopping to reconnect for an afternoon as mothers without someone yelling ‘Mom’ every couple of minutes that became special for them. “We could talk!”
When their babies were really little they would bring them in a car seat or stroller, but now, “We don’t ever bring our girls or our boys; this is just our quiet time for ourselves,” said Tina. At the end of each tea they will each pick out a “loot bag” of tea to bring home with them. Creamy Earl Grey is a family favourite. As far as the treats? “We covet the lemon tarts and anything chocolate,” said Tina.
Pressed for a favourite tea memory in all those 13 years, Tina said, “Probably the very first one was when we first discovered [the Secret Garden]. It was so little and so quaint that we weren’t expecting anything.” After each August tea the women will pop into the local shops in Kerrisdale. “We’ve made that a beautiful tradition for the four of us and we hope our daughters do it when they grow up. They’re very close.”