Wawa Disaster – Northern Lights Motel

Wawa Disaster – October 2012

YouTube Video of the Breaking News 

It was a wild Ride!! I took a photo of our newest (10 Room) Building  was underwater. The barn and both chalets were underwater (set in a lake), as 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


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

Luckily we were closed for the season when it happened. Whew!

The Trans Canada Highway was closed for 1 Week. Without a Detour, it caused all sorts of panic. 

Northern Lights Disaster Wawa


We lost 3/4’s of the Business (12 Rooms – the average size of a Mom & Pop Motel), and were closed for almost a year. 

Insurance doesn’t cover land. 


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

wawa flood promise

March 22, 2013, we were approved for Disaster Relief & they started raising money. The Ontario Government said they would match donations 3 to 1.

Wawa Disaster Relief Northern Lights Motel Photo

We thank EVERYONE that donated on our behalf!

It was a Long and Painful process, Dealing with 2 Government Entities, The Ministry of Transportation and Ontario Disaster Relief. Even though you cannot insure land, and Disaster relief didn’t have money to fix the land, to enable rebuilding, the Insurance company started Demolition. 

January 2013Gravel was dumped around the two rooms that were hanging into the canyon and the removal of the last two rooms began.


June 2013 – The road was built through the canyon and the demolition of the 10 Rooms started. 

The main floors and decks of both chalets were rebuilt! Yay! 

After the Demolition, the property sat destroyed, without an entrance, for YEARS. 

Northern Lights Motel Wawa


August 2016 – 4 Years after the flood…. Still a disaster…


  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 gets filled! 

Northern Lights Motel Disaster

Northern Lights Disaster

Northern Lights Motel Wawa

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

Northern Light Motel Entrance

We thank everyone for your support over the years!

2017 – Disaster Relief said we do not qualify for relief now that the property is flat.  

So the property is a big Gravel nasty mess, but we can live with it. At least it’s flat for the first time in 5 YEARS. ALWAYS LOOK AT THE POSITIVE. Don’t dwell on the negative. That is certainly the secret to success. 

Northern Lights Motel Disaster

I’ve been quoted as saying, “Mother Nature is a pussy compared to what the Government is doing to Northern Ontario Businesses.” Hah!

 And always remember folks….. 

Life is Short - Don't sweat the small stuff

John & Mo – May 2013


Northern Lights Motel Youtube Channel

Northern Lights Motel Snow Gauge

Northern Lights Motel Facebook Page

Mo and John's Chip Collection