by Betty Bardswich
PROVIDENCE BAY—Islanders will be sad to hear that Nathalie Gara-Boivin and Alain Harvey, the charming current owners of the Auberge Inn and International Hostel in Providence Bay, will be leaving their business with new owners and moving to Quebec shortly. As Ms. Gara-Boivin explained, her father died in December and her mother has broken her foot, so the couple wants to move closer to family and also to have their daughter Lea educated in a French language school system. They are moving to the Laurentians part of Quebec, so, as Ms. Gara-Boivin commented, “We are moving from one beautiful spot to another.”
Ms. Gara-Boivin told The Expositor that the couple fell in love with Manitoulin on a cycling trip and then opened the inn and hostel. “When we started in 2010,” she said, “we were the only new business and now we have many more businesses here and we will even have cell service in September. We have three rooms available here including a room with three bunk beds, a family room with a queen size bed and a bunk bed and a private room for adults. A group of 12 women come every summer for a retreat and take the entire hostel. We have held other retreats, working with youth and with Manitoulin Streams for a fall colours retreat and we also did a chocolate making workshop and yoga and photography workshops. We always tried to use local people. We also want to thank the community. We have done so much. We love Prov and we are thankful to the community. We have had a lot of fun doing this and meeting people from all over the world. People who come are amazed to see the night sky. We are going to come back next summer. We are sad that we are leaving Prov, but we are really happy that Serge and Heidi are taking over.”
Heidi and Serge Krieger are the proud new owners of the Auberge Inn. They were guests at the inn last summer and played with the idea of buying the business. “We were kind of kidding at first,” Heidi said, “and then decided to settle down, so we called and said ‘yes’.”
The Kreigers left Canada to move to the Netherlands and then returned to Toronto about six years ago to be near ailing parents. Mr. Krieger has a university background in language and history with some engineering and worked for five years in the War Crimes Department for the Department of Justice in Ottawa as well as doing some work as an historian. In the Netherlands, he worked for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. “I was working as a crime analyst,” he explained, “and worked together with police and prosecutors. It was pretty intense work.”
Mr. Krieger will fit right in with the international flavour of the Auberge Inn as he speaks six languages including Dutch, French, Spanish, Russian and German as well as English.
Ms. Krieger, who speaks Dutch and English, taught high school in the Netherlands and hopes to get the Canadian papers needed so she will be able to teach on the Island.
The Kriegers have two children, Sasha, who graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters of Information, and now works gathering legal information for a law firm in London, England. Her sister Nadia attends the same university where she is in her third year and is majoring in physics.
The Kriegers will take over the business on November 1, and in the meantime, Ms. Krieger said, “I am training with Alain about the business side of things and Serge the marketing side. He will be back in the fall for another three weeks of training.”
The Auberge is minutes away from the town’s beautiful beach and playground and offers a continental breakfast and free wifi as well as the use of the living room, kitchen, deck and backyard as common areas. For more information, go to email@example.com.