Trading a multi-million dollar mansion for $35 and a photo of your cat is a pretty decent bargain, but not enough people went for it. One couple was disappointed when their plans to raffle off a giant dream home went left. The Calgary mansion contest got cancelled so we weren't able to trade our cat photo for a house after all.

The organizers announced on Wednesday, April 22, that their contest was cancelled because they weren't able to reach 100,000 entries.

"THANK YOU for your efforts and for your participation," they wrote on social media. "Our thoughts are now to focus on the financial and emotional recovery of this heart directed vision."

The whole idea started back in March 2019. Teresa Rambold and Bill Wyrostok had a $3.5 million Mount Royal dream house on their hands and they didn't know what to do with it.

They weren't able to sell it, and the growing costs of construction were becoming too much to bear. In order to deal with the "tremendous burden" of owning a luxury mansion in one of Calgary's best neighbourhoods, the couple decided to crowdsource instead and raffle it off to 100,000 locals.

To enter the contest, you just had to send in $35 and a picture of your pet. That way, they get their millions back, and one very lucky Calgarian would get a luxury mansion for pennies.


*Rambold told Narcity the contest was “big faceplant.” The cancellation cost her and her husband tens of thousands of dollars, from fees she had to pay lawyers to the marketing.

And even though they put so much work into promoting the contest, few people signed up.“The actual entries were appalling,” she said.

"The people that actually signed up and sent a pet photo in was around 2500, a few more than that. And yet we were consistently doing just does not work.”

For now, she and her husband are trying to move on from the failure.

And the mansion? It’s still not sold, though they’re renting it out to try recoup some of the money.

“We will recover and we're well on our way to letting it go. Just put it behind us, which is where we're at.”

"In order to fund the contest and pay for the house we needed to generate a minimum of 100k entries," they wrote on Facebook.

"Well, we did not meet our criteria and as agreed ALL paid entries will receive a refund." 

People who entered will get $33.81 back to the credit card they used to enter, and would be receiving their payments by Thursday, April 30.

"This Pet Photo Contest has received many inspiring photos and your pets have powerfully gifted smiles, giggles and dreams," wrote the organizers on Facebook.

"We wish all of you the very best and be well during these times of change and challenge!"

This isn't the first time that homeowners have used a non-traditional approach to giving their mansion away. About a year ago, an Ottawa couple put their $1.1 million home up for sale for just $25 -- with a catch, of course.

In a short letter, applicants had to explain what owning the home would mean to them, and how they'd pay the gesture forward. 

However, similar to the Calgary home contest, the Ottawa couple fell short of their target of applicants. Entry fees were refunded and the house was put on the market for $1.1 million.

It seems that, while these creative home giveaways are a great idea in theory, they don't always pan out.

*This article has been updated.

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