John Parker & Maureen (Mo) Hutchinson-Parker
We’ve been here for almost 20 years! Wow! 😮 We’ve worked together since 1982, and amazingly, we still enjoy working together. 😆
We have a combined 86 YEARS working in the Hospitality Industry, and we LOVE it! When our Guests are Happy, WE are Happy!
We open the Motel in High Season Only, May 15 – Oct 15. We are not blessed with a Reservation Office, Front Desk Staff, or Maids, so we spend all day cleaning the rooms/houses and doing laundry. We take turns running the Office starting at 4 PM (Earlier Check-ins can be arranged easily). One evening John checks everyone in, and the next evening, I check everyone in. We enjoy it so much, and the secret to Happiness in this business, is concentrating on the 99% of Wonderful Guests. (We try not to dwell on the 1%.)
We’ve embraced technology and no longer spend our days on the Phone. Online Reservations have improved our Business immensely, and now our Booking Engine keeps track of Inventory, Pricing, Email Confirmations, etc. It’s Awesome. (We DO NOT deal with Companies like Hotels/Booking/Expedia/etc, and will never pay them 15% a Unit 😲)
We enjoy renovating our Rooms and Houses, and I have a million before and after photos, but there are too many to post. I just put this together – Chalet 2 before we bought the place, and now. We painted the deck railings on all 4 decks in June and they look fabulous!
I’ve been designing this website for 2 decades and there are so many things I could write about because everything has changed in the past 20 years. The disaster was a big change, but we find our Age has had the most impact. 😁 When we first bought the Northern Lights, we were youngsters – 39 & 40 years old, and able to run the Office till midnight, and even allowed people to Door-Bell us out of bed if we had vacancy. We slept in our clothes back then, but my cartoon has more impact with me in pyjamas 😂
But now? We are so old, we are in bed by 10 pm. Haha! (Late Self-Serve Check-ins are easy peasy, as long as you have a reservation.)
In winters, we still live here, and spend our days enjoying the wildlife on the property.
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 always have fun measuring snow with the Canadian Snow Gauge (4 Beer Cases High)
Someone often shows up to drink the snow gauge in April 😁
The Northern Lights isn’t just a Business for us… It’s our whole life. And as the Chains take over, and the Rural Highway Motels become a thing of the Past, John and I plan to be here for many years to come.
How We Met & Why we are Here
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 & Mom and Dad, Helen and Bob Hutchinson, SAVED US and ran the Motel for us for 10 days, 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 ~
I have great fun on the Internet posting Wildlife Photos, making YouTube Videos, turning Nature photos in to puzzles for www.Jigidi.com. (I no longer have time to make puzzles – I’m too busy with the Motel.)
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 try to draw more in Off Season.
There’s just way too much to write about…. I post a lot on our Facebook Page. Just follow us to see what we are up to!
We look forward to having you stay with us in our 19th Season!
Mo & John