When the Millionaire Lottery began 22 years ago, a million dollars could easily buy a dream home in Vancouver as a grand prize. These days, that amount won’t buy anything special, but the six houses that are being offered as prizes in this year’s lottery aiding the Vancouver General Hospital and UBC Hospital Foundation are truly the stuff of dreams.
“These are aspirational prizes, the sort of places that people dream about. It’s like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It comes with not just the house, that’s the jewel in the package, but it comes with the whole lifestyle,” said HGTV television personality Todd Talbot who is the spokesman and public face of the Millionaire Lottery.
The lottery features seven Grand Prize options – one is a $2.7-million cash prize and the other six are packages including luxury homes in South Surrey, Vancouver, Richmond, Victoria Island, Squamish and Kelowna, which also come with a load of bonus prizes.
One of the most spectacular homes, and the favourite of Talbot’s, is a brand new, 6,146-square-foot home at Elgin Estates in South Surrey (3078 144th Street) with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. It features a large landscaped yard, multiple decks and patios, gym, recreation and media rooms, library, gourmet kitchen and luxurious master bedroom. The winner can throw out all of his or her existing furniture because the prize also includes $140,000 worth of furnishings and an additional $20,000 in tax-free cash. The home is open for public visits daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I’ve been doing this for three years and I’m still blown away by what the possibilities are,” said Talbot. “It’s the biggest prize lottery in Vancouver with the fewest tickets being sold, giving you the greatest opportunity to win.”
The lottery only sells 117,000 of the $100 lottery tickets and when they are sold out, no more are printed. Ticket prices are lower if you buy them in packages of two, three or eight.
The other South Surrey property being offered as a grand prize is a 3,578-square-foot Ocean Park luxury home that features refined craftsman architecture with rich, elegant interiors. It comes with $100,000 in furnishings, has a large high-ceiling great room, beautiful master bedroom and an impressive recreation room along with some incredible extras thrown in.
“Not only do you get the house, which is massive, but then you get a 2018 Tesla Model X and a 2018 Jaguar F-Type Convertible. You also get a Mercedes-Benz motorhome and $500,000 cash. It’s so over the top, it’s almost silly. No matter how many times you hear this, you think, ‘Oh, my goodness, one lucky person is going to significantly change their life,’” said Talbot.
The property is at 1569 130th Street, South Surrey, and is open for public visits daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Debbie Heal was the designer who decorated the Ocean Park home, the 22nd she’s worked on during the five years she’s been associated with the Millionaire Lottery, and says she never gets tired of doing it.
“It is in a great area that would have a lot of families, so I wanted it to be a comfortable family home,” she said. “Since it’s starting to be winter for this lottery, I wanted warm colours, things that would give that feel, so I used olive green and brown, sort of fall colours, without the orange and lots of textures.”
“To make it more interesting, we used a lot of patterns. Patterns and textures are what this house is all about. For example, the sofa has a tweed fabric, we have leather chairs, wool carpets and then some other fabrics with other textures.”
She was especially enthusiastic about the downstairs area which has a kids’ play area along with a fun family entertainment area that centres on a big semi-circular leather sofa where the whole family can pile on.
Four of the six homes are open for public visits, but anyone can take a virtual tour of the properties online on the Millionaire Lottery website.
“It’s a split message between the fantasy and the lure of these prizes and also the impact that the money has on VGH and [the] UBC Hospital Foundation,” said Talbot. He added that it was great that people could dream about winning these fantastic prizes, but to know at the same time that even if they didn’t win, they were helping a great cause.
Angela Chapman, the senior vice-president of philanthropy at VGH and the UBC Hospital Foundation, said the goal of the lottery is to raise $2.5 million which will benefit Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, along with Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Community Health which are all community health centres across the Lower Mainland.
“Over 22 years, $50 million has been raised, primarily for equipment for our hospitals. There is some money that is directed towards research, but more than 80 per cent of what’s generated from the lottery goes towards buying new equipment to the hospital,” she said.
“Every year, many people get these amazing prizes but essentially, that grand-prize winner has a transformational experience in their life, but at the same time, millions of dollars go to helping health care through equipment and research. It’s a win-win all around. That’s the beauty of the lottery,” said Chapman.
More information on how to purchase tickets can be found at millionairelottery.com