Moose, Toques and Back Bacon with Karen Evenden: Catching a dream in Golden

Karen Evenden
Karen Evenden

It’s not often that I get the opportunity to sleep in the lower bunk of an ex strip joint and seedy bar in a small town, but I can honestly say it was a great night’s sleep!

The Roadhouse Tavern as it was then known was a bar/lounge, hotel and strip-joint that attracted various characters that passed through the small town of Golden, on the east interior of British Columbia. The building had finally been closed down and had sat empty for a year before Abi Marsh & Gerald Wagner happened upon it during a side trip to fix a flat tire.

Abi and Gerald

Abi and Gerald

A few months later, after numerous sleepless nights, hard work, pure determination and a ‘smudging’ ceremony (a smudging is a First Nations ceremony that heals and cleanses an area of bad thoughts, bad spirits and negative energy), the Dreamcatcher Hostel was borne!

The reason for the great sleep was revealed upon investigation; the ‘bunks’ were all handmade from solid pine, the mattresses were of a superior hotel quality and the bedding was actually fresh, new, duvets!

It was confirmed, this was no ordinary hostel! In fact, I even suspected that it was possibly one of the nicest that I have ever stayed in; and having stayed in hostels in Canada, Australia, Asia and Europe, this is no easy feat.

This fact was further confirmed when I discovered a kitchen that was so well equipped that it became almost a challenge to find something that was missing! There was even a wide array of drinking glasses to suit every purpose, remnants left over from the bar days.

Dreamcatcher Hostel is owned by Gerald (from Saskatchewan) and his English wife Abi (originally from Norwich), and opened just over a year ago in June 2010.

Abi and Gerald met over eight years ago whilst teaching English in China and proceeded to travel together before settling in England a few years later. Their dream was to return to Canada and start their own business and finally they embarked on a six month long road trip to explore the province of British Columbia with a hope of finding the place where they could settle. Only a month into their trip, a flat tire had them stop in the small town of Golden, and the rest as they say, is history!

Now over a year later, Dreamcatcher is growing in reputation and starting to see repeat travellers. As someone accustomed to mixing with groups of like-minded outdoors people, it is clearly evident the love and passion that the owners have invested into this venture.

Gerald and Abi have incorporated their own personality and character into the hostel and there are various remnants of their travels and history decorating the space. The spacious common lounge area has large, comfortable sofas, a brick fireplace, numerous book shelves crammed full and a variety of board games that give the atmosphere of a home, rather than a short stay.

Abi’s heritage is also proudly displayed. In the kitchen British cookbooks line the bookcase (with plenty of Jamie Oliver of course!), decorative British tea towels are pinned to the walls and a Union Jack teaspoon holder sits next to the coffee maker.

For Abi, living in Canada with her husband is a dream that has come true. Whilst she misses many things about England including family, Sunday papers and bacon, she firmly believes that a flat tire brought them here and they truly caught their dream.

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Karen Evenden originally from Lancashire was a resident of Eastbourne for over ten years before setting sail (or flight) to immigrate to Canada. Her first port of call was to Corner Brook Newfoundland to start a specialist travel company.

From there Karen headed over 4000 miles west to Alberta and now lives in the provincial capital city Edmonton.

Karen has since been an observer of the trials and tribulations of being a Brit in Canada; as the saying goes, once you move to a different country, you will never quite belong there or in your country of origin any more.

Karen agrees, but likes to think she has the best of both worlds! A proud English gal through and through but with the advantages of living in a new, prosperous country; life is good!

Read Karen’s bi-monthly column about life in the New World and ex-pat stories of success.