In 1974 a group of eight families bought 80 acres of land on Central Road and created the Syzygy Cooperative Community (Syzygy is an astronomical term used when the moon, sun and earth are in alignment and this occurred when the land was bought). The property came with a cleared field, an old farmhouse and an orchard. The farmhouse had been stripped of it’s siding many years before, leaving a layer of flattened cardboard boxes – thus it had been known on the island as the ‘Cardboard House’. How did this happen?
Legend has it that a man named Frenchie Leroux lived in the house, and walked to the Co-op Store everyday to shop for groceries, which he carried home in a cardboard box. As the weather got colder he used the siding (or shakes) as firewood and replaced it with the cardboard boxes having first soaked them in oil. Of course, when we bought the property, the first thing we did was cover up the cardboard. But the name just stuck!
It Began in a Tent….
In the late 70’s, a few members of our land co-op began a food business by setting up a tent right beside the old co-op store where we prepared and sold lunches during the summers.
By 1982, we were ready for a more permanent structure, and our own Cardboard House was sitting empty. We kept the funny name and converted it to the Cardboard House Bakery and Pizza Galore; then later the Carefree Café and Gecko Design were added. These are all independently owned businesses that share the co-operatively owned space.
Managed by Hélène Crégheur
Hélène Crégheur arrived on Hornby in 1976 from Quebec to homestead, raise a family, learn English and ultimately joined the Syzygy community in 1977.
Running a bakery had been Hélène’s childhood dream and a vision she had carried for years. When the group decided to open the Bakery, Hélène began as the first Manager, a role she still has 30 years later.
As no one had experience working at the commercial level there was much experimentation, discovery and learning as they went – and there are some great stories as well!
Over the years Hélène has been committed to producing the best (and tastiest) product as possible and she has surrounded herself with a great staff, many who have worked with her for many years.
Our Orchard and Garden
When you visit the Bakery you can devour scrumptious treats in the shade of the orchard (which was planted in the 1920’s), stroll through the garden (which was the original Syzygy communal garden) and catch up with friends, old and new.
Today the Bakery, and all the Syzygy businesses, are thriving and for many visitors a stop at the Bakery is the epitome of a perfect Hornby experience – we look forward to seeing you soon!