Wawa Disaster – Northern Lights Motel

YouTube Video of the Breaking News 

10 Motel Rooms, both Chalets and the Barn, were underwater. The highway acted like a DAM. The water eventually busted through the highway, and turned into a raging river. I had to call 911 and tell them they had to close the highway.

Motel Underwater

This photo made it into CTV’s Top Photos of 2012 ~


Of course I had to draw a cartoon after it happened ~

Wawa Northern Lights Disaster Cartoon

Don’t worry – We were closed for the Season. No one went floating down the River  

Photo Gallery (It wasn’t a sinkhole, but I guess with such a huge loss of land, everyone thought it was)

Disaster Northern Lights Motel Wawa

The torrential rains overwhelmed the culvert (And all culverts surrounding Wawa – Wawa was an Island), and set us in a lake. The 10 room building at the bottom of the photo below, had water ½ way up the windows before the Highway crumbled. It took 1 Week to reopen the Trans Canada Highway.

Wawa Flood Images

There was no Detour, it caused all sorts of panic. 

Northern Lights Disaster Wawa


Our Christmas Card for 2012 ~

Northern Lights Motel Wawa Disaster

We were closed for almost a year and lost 12 Motel Rooms (3/4’s of the Business)

(12 Rooms is the average size of a Mom & Pop Motel)

Insurance doesn’t cover land, and we didn’t have Business Interruption Insurance. 


Elected Officials declared Wawa a Disaster and said they would help.

wawa flood promise

March 22, 2013, Our Land Loss of $180,000 was approved for Disaster Relief.

Fund raising began. 

The Ontario Government said they would match all donations 3 to 1.

Wawa Disaster Relief Northern Lights Motel Photo

We thank EVERYONE that donated on our behalf, and we gave all that money to Disaster Relief.

But Disaster relief didn’t raise enough money to fix the land enabling a rebuild. They offered $60,000 that could have certainly HELPED, but would only give it to us if WE paid the remaining $120,000 to make the land flat and REBUILD? lmao! (Leave it to the Government to call THAT “Relief”) OMG

Our business was destroyed, and CLOSED for a season without income, – We were working hard trying to save our Business, not Bankrupt it.

January 2013Gravel was dumped around the two rooms that were hanging into the canyon for the removal of 2 of the 12 rooms.


June 2013 – Then a road was built through the canyon for the demolition of the other 10 Room Building. 


The main floors and decks of both chalets were rebuilt

After the Demolition, the property sat destroyed, without an entrance, for YEARS. We completely understood that Disaster Relief couldn’t fix the property enough to rebuild, but thought that since we rebuilt everything we could, and saved our Business, Disaster Relief “might” want to help fix the property? Perhaps just to make it safer? More appealing to look at from the highway? Slope it so that the cliffs are gone? But they said “NO”.

Northern Lights Disaster Wawa

August 2016 – 4 Years after the flood…. Still destroyed… 


Nothing says “Hospitality” like a Rusty Culvert!

Wawa Northern Lights Motel Disaster

We looked at the mess Season… after Season….. (Always trying to stay Positive)

Wawa Northern Lights Disaster

2017 – AECON was replacing culverts on the highway and needed a place to put fill. Just when you think that the property will be destroyed forever…. It starts getting filled! Thank you Aecon!

Northern Lights Disaster

Northern Lights Motel Wawa

July 2017 – 5 Years after the Flood, we got our entrance and Pull Through Parking Lot back! Yay!

Wawa Disaster Northern Lights Motel  

So the property is terribly scarred from the Disaster, and since Disaster Relief used our Motel as the Cover Photo, to RAISE MONEY, and since we gave them all the money we raised…. We thought they “might” want to help us fix the property. 

But Disaster Relief said “NO”. 

Northern Lights Motel Disaster

Thanks for nothing Disaster Relief!