John Parker & Maureen (Mo) Hutchinson-Parker
We’ve owned the Motel 19 years, Married 26 years, and have worked together for 36 Years…
We have a combined 86 Years in the Hospitality Business
It all makes us feel as old as dirt!! LOL!
I’ve been designing this website for almost 2 Decades. I change it daily. We’ve been in Wawa now, as long as we lived in Edmonton. There are a million different things that I can write about our lives… before we met, working together in Edmonton, and then all the years since we purchased the motel 1999. But I no longer know what to write…
Actually – This video sums up our life at the Northern Lights in Wawa! Hahaha (We love feeding the wildlife! They eat us out of house and home. 🙂 )
We run this place all alone (no staff), and we LOVE it!
John and I man the Office from 4 PM till 10 PM. But our guests can self-serve check-in after 2 PM because we always have the rooms and houses cleaned by then. BUT Self-Serve check-ins must be prearranged because we do not open the Office until 4 PM. We use that time (2-4pm) for supply runs, going to town for a late lunch, cutting grass, outdoor renos, feeding the forest birds and squirrels, jumping in Superior, etc..
Online Reservations have saved our souls, and we no longer accept phone reservations. You gotta MORPH with the times to keep a “Mom & Pop” Business open and successful this day and age!
Mo & John
I grew up in Sault Ste Marie, ON, John grew up in the Toronto area. We met in 1982 at the Convention Inn Hotel in Edmonton (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. We have quite a collection of chips! In Off Season, we gamble at our favourite Bay Mills Casino every chance we get!
Playing Blackjack with John was so much fun, that I learned to deal Blackjack for Edmonton Klondike Days each summer. (Dealing and Playing Blackjack are 2 different worlds. I much prefer to play.)
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 ~
From 1999 to 2005, we ran the Motel Year-Round. Mom and Dad saved us when they came to Wawa and ran the place for us twice a year. They were a GODSEND! Many times Aunt Wanda and Uncle George would join them and help clean rooms and make beds. John and I could go on gambling adventures… We drove to the East Coast, Florida, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and back to Alberta over the years. We could never thank them enough for giving us some much needed freedom.
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 had no choice but to leave his Chef apron behind and became an incredible “John of all Trades”. I 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.
My handle is nlmotel
I’m pretty fast at putting Puzzles together – Try to beat my time 🙂
I’ve made some Videos over the years –
I LOVE drawing Cartoons…
I photograph the Snow for the Snowmobilers again…. But I do not like posting endless snow photos on Facebook anymore. I post them on my BLOG PAGE.
Our life at the Northern Lights has been through many changes in 18 years. We’ve always accepted our challenges and have never been daunted by them. The biggest change here, wasn’t just us going from young 40 years olds to SENIORS – It was the flood 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.
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 renovate the few rooms that we had left, and the houses.
We had to say Good-Bye to the Breakfast Room that we had for 13 years. We turned it back into a Motel Room. A much needed 5th Room. (Below is the Before and After Photo of Room 19)
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 Mini Motel.
We look forward to having you stay with us in our 19th Season!