Nathalie Gara-Boivin and Alain Harvey, former Sudbury residents, have opened a European-style hostel, called the Auberge Inn, on Manitoulin Island.
They celebrate the grand opening of their new hostel May 15, with a road sign unveiling at noon, followed by a tour of the hostel and a wine and cheese celebration until 4 p.m at their site, at 71 McNevin St. in Providence Bay.
The hostel is the first on the island and one of only a few locally.
“We moved to the island in April 2010 but bought the house (the Inn) two years ago,” Harvey, a former CBON journalist, said. “The Auberge is like a bed and breakfast, but is more modeled as a backpacker’s hostel.”
The hostel features a dormitory-style room with six beds, individual lockers and a shared bathroom, kitchen and living room. Individual bedding, linens and pillows are also provided. The cost per night is $39 per bed, plus GST.
There is also a private room, with double bed accommodation for $90, for a maximum of two people. Visit www.aubergeinn.ca for more details.
The idea for the hostel came from Gara-Boivin’s experiences, when she lived in Europe in 2000 and 2001.
“I stayed in hostels in Holland, France, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, England and Scotland. I saw first-hand how they operated.”
In 2006, she travelled through Ecuador with Harvey, and again stayed in hostels, in Quito, the capital city. “I really got a lot of experience with hostels and ecotourism in general.”
Our slogan for the Auberge Inn is ‘where nature, culture and active people meet.
co-owner of the Auberge Inn
“You can’t get much more local than that,” Gara-Boivin said.
All cleaning products used in the hostel are environmentally-friendly.
“Sometimes we just use vinegar, soap and water,” she said.
Power to operate the inn comees from Bullfrog Power, a certified Green Energy producer of wind and small scale hydro.
“Our lights are energy-efficient compact fluorescents and we have installed five LED lights. They cost $20 apiece but are as bright as a 35-watt bulb while using only 7 watts (of energy).”
Travellers, whether they arrive at the hostel by foot, bicycles or car, will have a lot to see and experience in the area, the owners said.
“We are only 400 steps away from Providence Bay beach,” Gara-Boivin said. The beach, which is two kilometres in length, is the longest on Manitoulin, and has a boardwalk running along it for half the distance.
But there are many other opportunities for hiking, walking, and bicycling in the area and across the span of Manitoulin Island, she noted.
“Our slogan for the Auberge Inn is ‘where nature, culture and active people meet,’” Gara-Boivin said.
As for culture in the area, the local First Nations people have many attractions for tourists.
“There are a lot of Pow Wows held that bring in people from all over. This weekend, there is a cross-cultural dinner in Little Current.”
She said there is a thriving artistic community on the island with many art shows, workshops and art sales, especially in the summer months.
“We will have a calendar of local events on our website,” she added.
For more information, phone 705-377-4392, 1-877-977-4392, or e-mail email@example.com.