Canadian Entrepreneurs – John Parker & Maureen (Mo) Hutchinson-Parker
We’ve worked together for 35 Years in Hospitality & have been married for 25 years…
We’ve Owned the Northern Lights for 18 Years
We have a combined 84 YEARS in the HOSPITALITY BUSINESS (It ALL makes us feel VERY OLD. lol)
I grew up in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, 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 (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 the 80’s and 90’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. lol!
Playing Blackjack with John was so much fun, that I thought it’d be great to learn how to deal Blackjack for Klondike Days each summer.
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. We survived because Mom and Dad came to Wawa and ran the place for us twice a year. They SAVED OUR SOULS! 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.
We’ve owned this place for almost 2 DECADES now. We LOVE the Hospitality Business (It’s not for everyone), and have received many 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 became quite the handyman and I tried my hand at painting billboards.
Shirley Mills Wrote a nice story about us ~
I have great fun on the Internet posting Wildlife Photos, making YouTube Videos, turning Nature photos in to puzzles for www.Jigidi.com. I would never have survived living in the Boonies if I wasn’t online.
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 Crazy Cartoons and post them here – http://nlmotel.com/cartoons/
And I’m photographing the Snow for the Snowmobilers again…. But I do not like posting endless snow photos on Facebook anymore. I will 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 40 years old 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.
I plan to post a bunch of “Before and After” photos of the property on the Blog. There have been SO many changes.
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 –
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.