From crowded city to open country and Guest Ranch

Martin & Bernie’s Journey to Canada!

When you ask someone why they decided to leave their homeland and immigrate to another country, their answer is undoubtedly varied. But with Martin and Bernie CreutzLechleitner, the answer is quite simple; they came to Canada for the space. After years of enjoying the sprawling Canadian countryside and fresh mountain air, they decided to create a way to share it. In 2014, Bernie and Martin opened the Campbell Hills Guest Ranch, welcoming everyone into the space they had carved out for themselves over two decades.

Martin and Bernie are originally from Holland, and after spending a number of years dissatisfied with their jobs they knew it was time to make a change. In Holland, their lives felt slightly claustrophobic. The country is packed with more than 17 million people in a space the same size as Vancouver Island.

So how does anyone go about choosing a new country to call home? Well, a little bit of instinct never hurts. Martin had been to visit British Columbia when he was 19-years-old, and he had never forgotten the trip. It left a huge impression on him as a youth, so he pitched the idea to Bernie, and she was willing to give it a try. So the pair packed up their then 9-year-old twin boys, Erik and Jeroen, and made the long journey across the pond. The plan was straightforward enough; create the life for themselves they had always dreamed of.

To their credit, Martin and Bernie already had entrepreneurial blood coursing through their veins, having both grown up around family-owned businesses. So when they arrived in the sunny town of Kamloops, British Columbia, they decided to bring a little bit of home with them. In 2000 the pair opened the Amsterdam Restaurant, specializing in Dutch pancakes and other European cuisine. The pair always had what it took to become entrepreneurs, but they credit their success to the fact that they were passionate about the food and hospitality industry, had a strong work ethic and thoroughly enjoyed working with people. After years of successfully running the Amsterdam Restaurant, they passed it down within the family, and decided to refocus on other things.

The entire time they were running the restaurant, Bernie also owned horses. She grew up riding, but lived right downtown Amsterdam and was never able to have any of her own. Then, after discovering natural horsemanship and reading “The Soul of a Horse” by Joe Camp, Bernie and Martin moved to a new, bigger piece of land. That land is where the Campbell Hills Guest Ranch is located today. They had originally moved to give their horses more room to roam. Martin and Bernie had just discovered natural horsemanship, an alternative training training method that requires some space.

View of Campbell Hills Guest Ranch and Lake

Soon after their move, a friend asked Bernie what she thought she might be doing in 10 years time. Bernie had answered simply, but with a big smile on her face, “Open a guest ranch.”

Although Bernie admits she thought it was just wishful thinking at the time, she now takes every opportunity she has to look around at the dream her and Martin have made a reality. And while there’s always work to be done on the ranch, Bernie says that they don’t have plans to open another business.

“The ranch is actually three businesses in one,” Bernie explained. “It’s a restaurant, a hotel, and a horseback riding and training facility!”

If one thing is certain, it’s that the Campbell Hills Guest Ranch will keep both Bernie and Martin busy well into the future. And this hardworking couple is more than okay with that.