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 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 as well.


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. 



We rebuilt both our Chalets 

Northern Lights Chalets

Elected Officials declared Wawa a Disaster and said they would help with the land loss, but we are still waiting for help from our Government

wawa flood promise

You cannot insure LAND, but the Land Loss was approved for Disaster Relief. As our business was closed, we & Disaster Relief, raised $$$$ for about a year. The Ontario Government said they would triple the funds raised, and help Disaster Victims. 

Wawa Disaster Relief Northern Lights Motel Photo

But, in the end, there was not enough money to fix our Property, enabling us to rebuild, so therefore, the property is still destroyed and we’ve received no help at all.  

Land Loss

Dealing with 2 Government entities, The Ministry of Transportation & Ontario Disaster Relief, has been a VERY Long and Painful process. So now, many years later, 2016… our business still sits on a cliff as we wait for the MTO to rebuild our entrance. 


The property is a mess beyond our control…. but I embraced the pit and made a nice walking path around the fence. Feel free to go on a little “Pit Tour” when visiting 🙂 

We have witnessed an economic disaster as our neighbouring Hotels (& Businesses) close at an alarming rate.  Since we bought this place, Wawa has lost almost 200 Hotel Rooms. (12 Rooms in the Disaster, and about 180 Hotel Rooms from Closures). Because of this, you NEED reservations when travelling through.

Closed Wawa Motels

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 once again.

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