Wawa Disaster – Northern Lights Motel

Wawa Disaster – October 2012

It was a Wild Ride! Our Business and Property was destroyed beyond belief!

October 2012 Disaster

This photo made it into the 2012’s Top 100 Canadian News Photos

I took a photo of our newest (10 Room) Building in the above picture, when it was underwater. OMG

Motel Underwater

CRAZY Video footage from above – CBC’s video footage of the Disaster

News Articles about the Disaster ~ Sault Star -“Highway Like a River”

The Wawa Sinkhole  (It wasn’t a sinkhole)

Thankfully, we were closed for the season and no one drowned. 4 Motel rooms & our Home were built on high ground and escaped damage. We have always stayed positive and counted our blessings!!

Northern Lights Motel after Disaster

We lost 12 of our 16 Rooms (3/4’s of the Business is gone), and we were closed for almost a year. The 10 Room building below was without access for months. Nothing was salvageable.

Northern Lights Disaster Wawa

2 Rooms that were hanging into the Canyon were severed and demolished.

Wawa Northern Lights Disaster

Even though we lost 12 Rooms, we did everything in our power to SAVE what was left of our Beloved Business. We opted to build a road through the canyon for the Demolition of the 12 Rooms. While we were closed for a year (without Business Interruption Insurance), we completely renovated both Chalets, the Cottage and the 4 Rooms that were left. Our New Baby Motel.



Elected Officials declared Wawa a Disaster and said they would help, but we are still waiting to receive help from our Government

wawa flood promise

The Massive Land Loss was approved for Disaster Relief. We & Disaster Relief, raised $$$$ for about a year. The Ontario Government said they would triple the funds raised, and help Disaster Victims. (That is how Disaster Relief Works.)

Wawa Disaster Relief Northern Lights Motel Photo

But there was not enough money to fix our Property, enabling us to rebuild, so therefore, we have not received help. 

Land Loss

Dealing with 2 Government entities, The Ministry of Transportation & Ontario Disaster Relief, has been a VERY Long and Painful process. (We all know how Painful it can be to deal with ONE Government entity.) 

So now, 2016… We wait for the MTO to rebuild our entrance and fill this Pit. Fix the flooding issues. 

Wawa Disaster

Then after that happens, we still have this pit to deal with still…

Wawa Disaster

But the closing of Businesses is nothing new to us. We’ve been here for over 16 years and have witnessed our neighbouring Hotels (& Businesses) board up at an alarming rate! 

Closed hotels in Wawa

These Hotels were OPEN and FULL throughout High Season, when we bought our place.

Feb 2016 – The Sportsman Hotel looks closed now. No one is ploughing it out? So that hotel may be another victim. Since we bought this place, Wawa has lost 12 Hotel Rooms in the Disaster, and about 185 Hotel Rooms from Closures. (Because of this, you NEED reservations in High Season)

John and I have always understood the importance of MORPHING our Business to stay SUCCESSFUL in Northern Ontario. The Disaster just forced us to MORPH again.

Wawa Disaster


This is our 2nd entrance – still the same in 2016. We would LOVE to get rid of this Visual Pollution in front of our Business, but this is up to our Government to fix.

Northern Lights Waterfalls

We aren’t quitters, we are SURVIVORS!

Always remember folks…

Life is Short - Don't sweat the small stuff

John & Mo – May 2013

CRAZY Video footage from above – CBC’s video footage of the Disaster

News Articles about the Disaster ~ Sault Star -“Highway Like a River”

The Wawa Sinkhole  (It wasn’t a sinkhole)

May 26, 2013 – Mike Purvis interviewed John and Wrote an Update

Northern Lights Motel Youtube Channel

Northern Lights Motel Snow Gauge

Northern Lights Motel Facebook Page

Mo and John's Chip Collection