On a quiet Sunday morning in 1972, Lucas Stiefvater saw the Vancouver skyline with the snow capped Coastal Mountains reflecting golden in the distance and knew that he had arrived.
Two months earlier, he and is friend Norbert landed in New York on a flight from Germany.
They bought two Greyhound Bus tickets, $99 for 99 days, boarded the bus and proceeded to travel across the United States, Mexico and Canada. They slept on the bus, showered where they could, and ate cinnamon buns in every bus station. It was an adventure tailor made for two young men from Germany.
As it turned out it was the beginning of a 40-year adventure. When they stamped Stiefvater’s passport at the Peach Arch border crossing, he thought he was here for a season. Despite growing up in a Black Forest guesthouse and his extensive training in hospitality, Stiefvater’s first jobs were night watchman at the Vancouver Holiday Inn and banquet waiter at the Georgia Hotel, where nearly everyone spoke German.
He studied English during the day and within a year he and his German girlfriend Annemarie moved to Cloverdale, where he became manager/partner for a local café. He and Annemarie eventually married and raised two sons Daniel and Jordan.
Over the years, Stiefvater owned and operated several successful businesses including the Copper Kettle Restaurant chain in Vancouver, Clayquout Lodge on Stubbs Island in Tofino, Aspen Hotel Smithers and eventually the Kingfisher Resort and Spa in the Comox Valley.
“Canada is my home!” says Stiefvater. “When I look back over the last 40 years I am in awe! That boy growing up in Wieden, Germany never dreamed that his life would turn out like this and that he would enjoy the kind of success I have!”
Stiefvater now owns two properties in Campbell River, Ocean Resort, Vancouver Island’s wellness centre and spa, and Herons Landing Hotel. He and his current partner Cheryl Levine, live on the Ocean Resort property enjoying a rich and full life together.
“It feels right to celebrate this moment in my life. I am very grateful to Canada, and to the Comox Valley and Campbell River communities. I want to give something back, on this my 40th year in Canada,”, explains Stiefvater.
In order to mark this celebration, Stiefvater and Levine are hosting an open house and barbeque on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at Ocean Resort.
Guests will be free to tour the facilities, walk the labyrinth and enjoy a delicious barbequed dinner. Tickets for the event are $20 per person. All proceeds go to the Eureka House in Courtenay and the Beacon Club in Campbell River(both organizations support individuals with mental illness). Stiefvater will match the proceeds from ticket sales and the raffles dollar for dollar.
“It is a honour to give back.”, says Stiefvater. “We are hoping to that the community will come out and help us celebrate!” For more information or to RSVP call Ocean Resort at 250 923 4281.