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A Home Away From Home

From the February 27 to March 5 edition of La Liberté 

 

Last August, Céline Julien and Bruce Hossman opened a Bed and Breakfast in Osborne Village, where they welcome guests in both official languages.


 photo : Camille HARPER-SÉGUY 
Céline Julie

Camille HARPER-SÉGUY

 

Last August, Francophone Céline Julien and her English-speaking husband, Bruce Hossman, opened their La Chaumière du Village Bed and Breakfast in the Osborne Village area, where guests can be served in French or English. (1)

 

“We are the only B&B in Osborne Village that provides services in French,” says Céline Julien. “It’s our retirement project. We were living in this big house and wondering what we were going to do with it, when my husband happened to utter the words “Bed and Breakfast” … and something just clicked!”

 

With the help of their children and their partners, the couple completely renovated their home to receive guests. “We did everything ourselves. My children worked very hard. We refinished the floors, repainted, and fixed up all of the rooms. It took us more than eight months,” Céline Julien adds.

 

She says that the first guests arrived “before the painting was even finished! Since then, we have always been busy. We didn’t even have time for an official opening.”

 

 A home away from home


La Chaumière du Village Bed?and Breakfast has two bedrooms for couples, a single bedroom, and a bedroom for a family of four. It also has two bathrooms for the exclusive use of guests, a dining room and a TV room as well as access to a computer, telephone, laundry facilities and a kitchen. Some baby equipment is also available.

 

Lastly, there are three private patio areas with many trees, “that provide shade in the summertime,” says the owner.

 

“We want to be able to welcome everyone and for people to feel at home here,” says Céline Julien. “We love it when someone stretches out on the couch under a blanket! Guests are also given a set of keys so that they can come and go as they please. “As for meals,” she continues, “we prepare breakfast in advance according to guest preferences, and they can serve themselves at their leisure in the morning without having to get up at a given time. I don’t put things away until around 1 PM.” The kitchen and appliances are available the rest of the day to guests who want to do their own cooking. There is also space in the refrigerator and cupboards where they can keep their food.

 

“It’s a system that works very well,” says Céline Julien. “What’s more, our guests frequently invite us to join them for a meal. It allows us to ‘travel’ and discover their culture! We have been very lucky so far, with wonderful, really interesting guests.”

 

While the hosts learn from their guests, the opposite is also true. “Because I am Francophone, I love to introduce our guests to St. Boniface,” says Céline Julien. “Most of our visitors weren’t aware that Winnipeg has a French neighbourhood, and they are delighted to find out that French is spoken here.”

 

 A little help from their friends


The owner of the bilingual Bed and Breakfast also stresses the importance of the help and encouragement they have received from two other Manitoba B&B owners: Lynne Gauld in Winnipeg and Guy and Suzanne Gagnon in St. Agathe.

 

“Lynne Gauld was really a big help when we set out to obtain the City of Winnipeg licences and permits, which was quite a challenge” says Céline Julien. “She also sent many guests our way to help us get our business off the ground. Manitoba’s B&B owners work together as a team, not in competition. We send each other guests when we are full.”

 

Guy and Suzanne Gagnon “were an incredible resource as we were preparing to open a francophone B&B,” she says. “We could never have done it without them and Lynne Gauld. It’s easy to be discouraged by the obstacles if you don’t have any help.”

 

Each new guest is an opportunity for Céline Julien and Bruce Hossman to hone their B&B skills. “We had no previous experience with this kind of business, so we work with people,” says the owner. “We talk with them, we learn from them, and we adjust. It’s going well.”

 

(1) La Chaumière du Village Bed?and Breakfast is located at 611 Wardlaw Avenue in Winnipeg. Information and reservations: 204-421-5175 or via www.bedandbreakfast.mb.ca and www.bbcanada.com.

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