This contest has its challenges, yet it is, in my opinion, a most incredible way to find a truly exceptional reason to bestow your treasured home (not just for $$$ but for sentimental reasons) upon someone that can skillfully and creatively convey to me and a panel of judges how this spectacular home would change or improve his/her and their family’s life.”
— Alla Wagner
Alla Wagner: The Woman Behind the Dream

Alla Wagner: The Woman Behind the Dream

How it all began

In 2011 Alla built this beautiful 5,000 sq. ft. Georgian-style mansion in the picturesque town of Millarville, Canada—in Alberta’s foothills.

A couple of years ago, Alla fell and sustained a back injury. Because of severe pain, she can no longer navigate the stairs, or get around very well at all. She has been confined to the second floor of the home ever since.

Because of her physical condition, Alla came to the realization that she needed to downsize and find a main level home. The house had been appraised at $3 million three years ago, but, because of the economic downturn in Alberta, she decided to list it at $1.9 million, but got no offers, even after lowering her asking price again to $1.7 million. Unfortunately, few home buyers were in the market for a house of this stature due to economic factors beyond her control.

One day, a friend told her about the movie, Spit Fire Grill—and that moment the Write A Letter Win A House contest was born!

In January, 2019, Alla launched her own contest. She is looking for a convincing 350 word letter plus a modest $25 entry fee (which allows people of any income to have a chance at entering).

Alla says that the entry could take many forms—a letter, a poem, a piece of art or photo story…

The catch is that she needs approximately 60,000 entries to fulfill the terms of this contest—but if that number is not achieved by July 5, Alla will have to refund everyone’s money (less any bank and postage costs).

Alla dearly wants to see the home go to some person, or family, who is going to love it as much as she has loved it…


I want it to be someone that’s going to enjoy this place, and is going to love being here and fit into the neighbourhood—because the neighbours are incredible people. We have an incredible, diverse community here.
— Alla Wagner
  • Alla plans to donate 5% of the net contest proceeds to the Calgary Emergency Womens Shelter if the contest is successful . . . Read More


My Story & Why I Love Where I LIve

Being someone used to a cosmopolitan lifestyle, living in the country was doubtful for me until my family visited my friend in Millarville. Straightaway, I fell in love with the rolling hills, rich vegetation and felt a sense of belonging and freedom. Every time we traveled to our friend’s property, we would drive by the beautiful pond and the new development area that mesmerized my family, so we were determined to live here.

My dream came true, and now waking up in the mornings my first sights are spectacular views from my bedroom windows – whether bright sunny days, clouds rolling across the sky, or a mysterious fog rising from the pond. I love watching flocks of geese and ducks traveling to and from the pond, seeing the open skies, starry nights, wildlife, and views of the snow-packed mountains. No matter which window in the house I look out of, the view is beautiful.

This area and our home is a writer’s or artist’s paradise!

Great memories of the blessed life my family has had in this home are priceless.

We love our home and would never consider putting it on the market, especially in the current turmoil that Alberta is experiencing. We had to list our house because of my poor health, which has been especially bad the last 6 months or so. Being confined to only one (upper) floor is becoming unbearable and it is taking a toll on my work and life in too many ways.

In 2015, there was a contest started by the owner of the Center Lovell Inn - “Write a 200-Word Essay, Win a Historic Inn in Maine”. It was such an exciting idea that for a long time the story and the event was the subject of my admiration. After some research, I discovered that a wonderful film that I actually saw in 1996 - “The Spitfire Grill” - motivated this contest and others in the USA and Canada. Understandably there is opposition to this new trend in the real estate market. However, much like “sale by owner”, this contest has it’s challenges yet it is, in my opinion, a most incredible way to find a truly exceptional reason to bestow your treasured home (not just for $$$ but for sentimental reasons) upon someone that can skillfully and creatively convey to me and a panel of judges how this spectacular home would change or improve his/her and their family’s’ life.

Please share my story and details of our contest as many people as you can. Because of the slow economy, I have established the entry fee at $25 Canadian compared to other contests asking $100 US and up. This way it will not be difficult for very creative and truly deserving people to come up with the fee. I have also let you choose the format of your entry to simply answer: “Why would moving to this lakefront dream home change your life?”