EDMONTON -- Dozens of hotel rooms were lit at the River Cree Resort and Casino Monday night, but there wasn’t even one guest staying or playing there.

The hotel, casino, arena and restaurants all closed March 17 due to widespread government public health orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so officials had staff open drapes and turn on lights to beam the word “HOPE” eastward towards their Edmonton neighbours.

440 Window

On the west side of the hotel, “440,” the band number of the Enoch Cree Nation was pointed towards residents that community. 

The gesture was first shared on the resorts Facebook page on Friday. 

"We HOPE you are all staying safe and well at home. We look forward to seeing you again soon," it read.

"Have HOPE in your ♥️ heart, and you’ll never walk alone," the post concluded. 

A River Cree spokesperson described the mood at the shuttered resort the last few weeks as “quiet and dim.”

But Jayne Behm said crews were cleaning and officials were busy planning for a celebration when the resort was safe to reopen. 

"River Cree has always brought the Edmonton area excitement. This (HOPE lights) is just a small way that we can remind people that we are going to return to the good times and there is hope for us," Behm said. 

The River Cree is located on the western outskirts of Edmonton and is owned by the Enoch Cree Nation