US & Canada

A Canadian woman has launched a writing contest for her luxury home

The Millarville, Alberta home Image copyright Couresy Facebook
Image caption This Millarville, Alberta home is available in a writing competition

A Canadian woman is holding a letter-writing contest for her three-bedroom home near the city of Calgary.

Interested parties must pay an entry fee of C$25 ($19; £15) and answer the question "Why would moving to this lakefront dream home change your life"?

Owner Alla Wagner is leaving the home she says she loves due to poor health.

Inspired by stories of similar contests, she decided to launch "write a letter, win a house" when the C$1.7m home failed to sell.

"Great memories of the blessed life my family has had in this home are priceless," she wrote on Facebook.

"I love watching flocks of geese and ducks travelling to and from the pond, seeing the open skies, starry nights, wildlife, and views of the snow-packed mountains."

Her health has left her confined to the upper floor of the home, making living there "unbearable".

She calls the house "a writer's or artist's paradise".

Image copyright Courtesy Facebook
Image caption The home's interior

The home, about 65km (40 miles) south of Calgary, in Millarville, Alberta, is described as an "exquisite country mansion designed in the Georgian Country Style", in its online real estate listing.

The 3850 square foot (360 square metre) home has "panoramic" views of the Rockies, a one-acre lot, a pond, and a wine cellar.

Ms Wagner says the public will vote on the entries and determine the 500 finalists. Those finalists will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges, who will pick the eventual winner.

The contest will be open for at least three months - until early April - but could be extended if she does not receive over 60,000 entries, enough to cover the C$1.7m minimum the home listing amount with the entry fee.

She also reserves the right to cancel the contest in the event of too few entries.

The Alberta woman is not the first to come up with the idea of holding a writing contest for property.

She was inspired by an essay writing competition launched in 2015 to transfer ownership of the Center Lovell Inn in the US state of Maine and by the 1996 film Spitfire Grill, which featured a similar contest for the cafe.

But previous real-life examples have not always gone smoothly.

There were complaints after the Center Lovell Inn essay competition winner was picked and a police investigation into whether the contest was legal. (It was).

In 2016, another inn tried a similar stunt but the contest was cancelled when the owner failed to reach the goal of 8,000 entries, according to Sea Coast Online.

In the UK, a couple who launched a raffle for their "megahome" in Hampshire were criticised that the substitute cash prize was too low when they did not to sell enough tickets to give away the mansion jackpot.

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