“Shared joy is a double joy!”  (Swedish Proverb)


How the Inn Came to Be

The Kiezebrink family’s 7200 square foot estate, is a creation of the Kiezebrink family, architecturally designed by Erik and built primarily by he and his Dad with family, friends, and some craftsmen helping. What was intended to be one year of construction, turned into three and a half, with each phase of construction requiring unexpected twists and turns. Initially Kiezebrink Juniors lived in the basement under a tarp, while the Kiezebrink Seniors lived in the remaining free-standing bedroom after nearly a full demolition of the old farmhouse. A wood stove kept the pipes from freezing, but temperatures were below 30 and the family kept warm with space heaters, and by winter camping wearing layers of clothing, coats, sleeping bags, and sometimes even shoes to bed, for two and a half winters. During rains, every available pot, pan, pail and dish, collected water from the drips, as the roof and shingles weren’t finished until the third winter. By the third year of construction, deadlines had to be maintained, and family and community volunteers came out in droves to accomplish the final miracle of completing floors, washrooms, unpacking furniture, and hooking up phones in time for the first scheduled guests! Their testimonial was reward enough: “This is not a five star Inn, this is a seven star!” (Thank you everyone who helped!) For more of what others have to say see the press room!


Original siding is now cedar ceilings for covered decks, porches, and archways. Stones dug up, now adorn gardens. Local artisans helped with the website, spiral staircase, hand crafted wrought iron railings (Artistic Wrought Iron by Tito), and some painting (Spice Up Your Space). Since the Kiezebrinks originally emigrated from Europe and their educational and charitable endeavors have given them opportunity to serve not only in Durham Region but also in Asia, Africa, South America and Nunavut, the themed rooms reflect their passion for investing in people of all cultures. The front arched mahogany door they ordered from South America. The Mapenzi Suite’s paintings are originals from Kenya and Jamaica. Filled with appreciation for the amazing people they’ve met and for the hospitality of the nation of Canada, their aim is to reciprocate and share their estate’s hospitality with others. Here’s a little bit about your hosts!


The Family – Erika & Harry
Erika was born in Germany and lived on a “Hof” complete with a moat, ballroom, and cheese factory. During World War II her family was in a position to assist others and they did so sacrificially, rescuing many Jews and helping them escape. Then her father was imprisoned in an unknown location, for his efforts. Erika’s mother despaired when with her husband gone, her home was commandeered by lice-infested military, their livestock eaten, and their orchard burned for fuel. Yet with faith and courage she pressed on. Later, when her husband miraculously survived, they emigrated to Canada. Erika was just 10 when they crossed the Atlantic on a hospital ship called “The Homeland” ending up in Port Perry, Ontario. Preparing for the possibility of another war, Erika’s Dad constructed a bomb shelter beneath their farmhouse. On his deathbed, he kept his family and farmland in view, thanking God for the life he’d been able to build in Canada.


Harry’s family enjoyed a rich culture and family life in Holland. That changed…During the war his family’s convictions would not permit them to join in the annihilation of Jews. Rather they endeavoured to thwart military efforts. They even buried a 10 ton lorry in a forest rather than let Nazis use it. Harry’s mother died leaving his father and sisters to raise him. They survived on meagre meals of onion soup. Harry’s father, determined to provide for his family of eight children, also emigrated to Port Perry where Harry met Erika met in high school. They were married in 1962 and spent their lives educating the children of Durham, Erika as a teacher and Harry as Durham’s youngest principal at that time. To this day, each year an outstanding S.A. Cawker Public School student is given the “Harry Kiezebrink Humanitarian Award”! They raised three children and a foster daughter.


The Family – Deborah & Erik
Deborah knew poverty first-hand while living in the remote Kalemie, Congo, Africa. The oldest of seven children born to Charles and Fern Willner, her family assisted crippled, blind, and those with leprosy with food, as well as helped to open bush medical dispensaries with supplies provided from European aid organizations, as well as education and Biblical instruction for national pastors who wished it. www.openwordministries.com In addition, Deborah’s mother’s education of local women assisted them with hygiene, sewing, and baking businesses via the creation of ovens in the ground. Deborah’s mother’s inspiring autobiography called “When Faith is Enough” contains gripping stories of events and life lessons learned. Browse through a copy in the Inn library or purchase gift copies in the gift shop or our online store. At 18, Deborah flew to the U.S. gaining a Broadcasting/Vocal Performance degree and doing some modeling, then to Japan to work in public relations, and back to Canada to work in radio, sales, TV, marketing, and recording some albums where she met Erik on a blind date.


Erik loved the outdoors as a child and began as a five year old helping his Dad dig up, cart in his wagon, and replant about a third of the trees that guests now enjoy around the Inn. He worked on his uncle’s dairy farm. Summer holidays with his family routinely included trips to South America to volunteer in construction projects to benefit residents in extreme poverty. He was garnering a Biology degree from the University of Western Ontario when he met Deborah. He first told her he loved her and proposed to her on the Inn property. Married in 1991, they became ministers, started a family, and worked in London, Shallow Lake, and later the Philippines. Erik continued to lead construction and ministry projects, taking volunteer teams to South America, Nunavut, and the Philippines. After completing Masters degrees in Asia, Erik & Deborah moved to Durham conducting Marketowne Church worship services at the AMC Movie Theatres for a time. Erik owned a construction company framing houses for new home builders like Tribute Homes. Deborah worked as Interactive Business Development Manager for Metroland East Interactive. Then they with their parents built and launched Nestleton Waters Inn.