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Manitoba couple wins P.E.I. dream cottage draw after purchasing tickets for over 10 years

Heather Doran and Myron Yates of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada are shown in front of this year’s Dream Cottage with the winning ticket. The winners, Will and Marie MacPhail, live in Thompson, Man., but own land on P.E.I.
Heather Doran and Myron Yates of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada are shown in front of this year’s Dream Cottage with the winning ticket. The winners, Will and Marie MacPhail, live in Thompson, Man., but own land on P.E.I. - Stu Neatby

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - For over 10 years, Will and Marie MacPhail have purchased tickets for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Dream Cottage draw.

Will grew up in Prince Edward Island and has been returning every year to visit family. Purchasing tickets for the draw became an annual ritual. After returning home, the two would often sit at their home computers on the date of the draw, refreshing the screen every few seconds to see if their name would appear on the Big Brothers Big Sisters website. It never did.

This year was different. The two forgot about the draw date.

So Marie was surprised when she received a call on Friday afternoon from Big Brothers Big Sisters executive director Myron Yates.

"Well, you sure won," Yates said.

"Are you kidding me?" Marie said excitedly.

The couple, who live in Thompson, Man., recently had a new baby. Marie said the cottage happens to fit the dimensions of a piece of land they have purchased in Cumberland.

The new cottage will allow their one-year old son, William, room to grow, Marie said.

“We were staying with my mother and father-in-law and quickly running out of space," Marie said.

"This is perfect timing. We'll move the cottage on our land and be Islanders from away, I guess."

The cottage includes an open plan living room, dining room and kitchen. The house boasts a cathedral ceiling with a six-foot island in the kitchen. A Continental CB30 Propane Fireplace was donated to the build by Kenmac Energy, with a mantle provided by Markan Woodmillers. The home was built by the P.E.I. Home and RV Centre and has been outfitted with furniture from Hambly’s Home Furnishings.

The Dream Cottage draw has been one of the key fundraising drives for the P.E.I. branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters. This year’s draw raised over $280,000, which will benefit the organization’s youth-oriented programming. Over 15,250 tickets were sold during this year’s campaign, the 24th yearly draw held in P.E.I.

"It's the major fundraiser for Big Brothers, this one and the Bowl for Kids Sake," said Big Brothers Big Sisters board chairman David Green.

"I believe it would be close to a third of the budget comes from this one fundraiser."

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