John Parker & Maureen (Mo) Hutchinson-Parker
We’ve worked together for 36 Years. We’ve owned the Motel 19 years
We have a combined 86 Years in the Hospitality Business
It all makes us feel very Old! LOL!
Our life at the Northern Lights has been through many changes in 19 years. We love renovating and improving all of the Rooms and Houses over the years. (I have a million before and after photos, but there are just too many to post. Here’s a favourite – The 2 Bedroom Cottage ~ 1999 and now.
We’ve always accepted our challenges and have never been daunted by them. The biggest challenge was the flood that destroyed 3/4’s of our Business & closed it for a year. The Disaster made the National News and CLOSED the Trans Canada Highway for 1 Week without a Detour….
Of course I had to draw a cartoon ~
Don’t worry, we were closed for the season – No one went down the River!! 😆
At that time, no one thought our business could be saved, so the Ministry of Transportation did not rebuild our entrance. 🙁 It was upsetting, but we weren’t going anywhere. It was time to save what wasn’t destroyed, and rebuild/renovate all the houses and the few rooms that we had left (We lost 12 of our 16 Rooms – The average size of a Motel).
It took 5 YEARS to get our Entrance Back – and even though the property is quite a gravelly mess, it’s FLAT for the first time in 5 Years! Yay!
Because it took 5 Years to get the property filled, and for us to get an entrance back, we couldn’t rebuild the lost rooms. So now we have a Newly Renovated Mini Motel.
I’ve been designing this website for almost 20 years, and there are so many things I could write about, but this video sums up our life here. We love our property, and spend so much time in the forest, feeding the wildlife!
Nature Therapy at it’s Finest. A new term for it – “Forest Bathing” ? Who knew? lol We Think the term Forest Bathing is pretty ridiculous. We will call it “Wilderness Wellness Walks”, because there is nothing that makes us feel better than walking in the Forest and feeding our birds and squirrels.
This video stars – Peanut (The Drama Queen), Big Ears (Sitting on the log eating the bird’s peanuts), Yelly (the squirrel that gets a peanut and runs away), 3 Chickadees & 1 Red Breasted Nuthatch.
We just opened for our 19th Season May 17, 2018!
Once we open for the Season, John and I clean the rooms and houses all morning, till 1 or 2 PM. We have a few hours for supply runs, cutting grass, outdoor renos, feeding the forest birds and squirrels, swimming in Lake Superior, etc., before we get back to work the office 4 pm till 10 pm.
But our guests can self-serve check-in from 2PM – 4PM, or after 10 PM (Just write down the time on the Online Reservation Form). Easy Peasy!
How We Met –
I grew up in Sault Ste Marie, ON, John grew up in the Toronto area. We both moved to Edmonton, and met in 1982 at the Convention Inn Hotel (Now the Delta Inn South). I worked at the Top of the Inn Dining Room for 20 years. John, the Executive Chef of the Hotel worked there for 16 years. Oh how we LOVE and MISS that Hotel & everyone that worked with us.
The Top of the Inn Diningroom staff gave us an AWESOME going away present in 1998 (Of course it hangs in our Motel Office). The Top of the Inn Dining Room closed shortly after we left. It’s now a Banquet Room. 🙁
November 19, 2017 – We had a 20th Reunion in Edmonton!! It was WONDERFUL to see everyone again!
Through our 20’s and 30’s, John and I LIVED for Travelling and Gambling. We drove through 46 States and 9 Provinces, collecting Casino Chips along the way. Some Chips were FREE, some cost us a FORTUNE. In Off Season, we gamble at our favourite Bay Mills Casino every chance we get!
I dealt Blackjack for 3 summers during the Edmonton Klondike Days. What a Hoot!!
We were tired of being happy, so we got married in 1992.
In 1999, we wanted to be closer to our families, and moved back to Ontario and went “ALL IN” buying the Northern Lights Motel. Our BIGGEST Gamble Ever ~
We ran the Motel Year-Round for the first 5 years (Went Seasonal in 2005). Mom and Dad, Helen and Bob Hutchinson, ran the place for us twice a year. Aunt Wanda and Uncle George Hutchinson, would help out. John and I could ESCAPE, and we drove a million miles, adding to our Casino Chip Collection.
We LOVE the Hospitality Business (It’s not for everyone), and have received some Awards over the years ~
- American Express Hospitality Award
- Alberta’s Gold Key Hospitality Award
- Multiple Tripadvisor Awards for Best Bargain and Excellence
In 2002 we created the “Canadian Snow Gauge” 4 Beer Cases High, and ran the Snow Cam on our website and on facebook for 13 years. This was years before Social Media and Facebook.
One time, while driving to photograph Black Trout Lake for a Lake photo, we hit Black Ice and slammed into a Rock Cut…. was Airborne, then crashed onto the middle of the highway! Lucky for us, we were able to crawl out of the passenger window and escape. Here we are – still smiling because we were unhurt and ALIVE. (We always look at the Positive)
Our 18 years in Wawa have been interesting – John has become an incredible “John of all Trades”. I even tried my hand at painting Billboards…
Tripadvisor awarded us in 2010, and Shirley Mills Wrote a nice story ~
My handle is nlmotel
I’m pretty fast at putting Puzzles together – Try to beat my time 🙂
I started my own Custom Made Cartoon Business back in 1993 or so. But once I bought the Motel, I didn’t have time for that any more. But I should draw more in Off Season. It’s a blast!
We look forward to having you stay with us in our 19th Season!
Mo & John