Living the Dream: Catching Up with the 2020 Dream Home Family

Where were you when you won the lottery? It’s a question we all hope to have an answer to one day, but for Stephanie Chartrand and her family, that hope became reality in 2020 when they won the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery grand prize built by Minto Communities. Chartrand – along with four members of her family – went in on a ticket together, never expecting to take home the grand prize, the Minto Dream Home

2020 Minto Dream Home winners

Image: Winners of the 2020 CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery

“We figured, ‘what do you have to lose?’,” Chartrand says. “Even if you don’t win, you’re still helping families at CHEO and supporting a great cause. Obviously you want to win the house, but you never really think it’ll be you who gets it.”

Except this time it was. Chartrand was working from home the day the winners were announced, and she remembers getting a call from her mom telling her to watch the news.

“She wouldn’t tell me why,” she laughs. “She just kept telling me to watch the news, watch the news! So I turned it on and it took me a second to process what I was seeing. I was so shocked and just started screaming. They had called my mom to let her know we had the winning ticket, but she wanted us to find out this way.”

Kitchen of the Bohemian

Image: Kitchen of the 2020 Minto Dream Home
The rest of the day was a write-off work-wise – for obvious reasons. Chartrand and her family went to tour the Minto Dream Home that same day. Immediately, everyone was impressed by the sheer size of the home. While they were a bit skeptical about having so many people live in one house, Chartrand says their concerns were unwarranted, since the home, aptly named the Bohemian, has a whopping 4,700 sq. ft. of space with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms incorporating an eclectic and boho-chic style throughout.. 
“We have three families living here,” she explains. “Five adults, three dogs, and we still have plenty of space. The house has big gathering places but it also has spots where you can sit and do your own thing without feeling crowded.”
Living room of the Bohemian
Image: Living Room of the 2020 Minto Dream Home
Being in the Minto Dream Home has allowed the family to spend more time together, something that may have otherwise been difficult during the pandemic.  
“We all wanted this experience of living in the Minto Dream Home, and it’s great that we can all be in one spot and really get to experience it together,” Chartrand says. 
Now, over a year later, Chartrand and her family are still loving their new home, which was outfitted with a contemporary farmhouse aesthetic. Chartrand says it’s cozy, comfortable, and homey in all the best ways. The Minto Dream Home is just that. A dream. 
Study of the Bohemian
Image: Office of the 2020 Minto Dream Home
“It really has everything we need,” Chartrand says. “My favourite spot is probably the living room because I love sitting in front of the big fireplace. There’s also a sun porch, which is basically an enclosed three-season room with screens so you’re outside but still kind of covered. There’s a fireplace out there and it kind of feels like you’re camping!”
The family has also settled in the town well, finding tons of charm in the established Mahogany community in Manotick. “I always thought Manotick was far away, but it’s really not,” she admits. “By car, it’s five minutes away from the highway so it’s super convenient. Then there’s the town itself which is a five-minute walk, and it’s so nice to walk around, explore the area and local shops, and in the summer we’re not far from the water. I’ve always loved the feel of a small town so it’s fun to actually be able to live it.” 
Mahogany, Manotick
Image: Lela Scharf park in Mahogany, Manotick
As with any move, there was the potential for things to be stressful as three families convened into one living space, but Chartrand says everyone involved was extremely helpful and made things easy. 
“We had a dedicated Customer Experience Coordinator walk us through everything, explained next steps, what to expect, who to contact, the whole nine yards,” she says. “He was so understanding and made the process a lot less intimidating. The transition ended up being really easy, and that had a lot to do with how helpful everyone at Minto was.”
Dining room of the Bohemian
Image: Dining Room of the 2020 Minto Dream Home
If you’re on the fence about buying a ticket, Chartrand says to just do it. 
“You never know what’s going to happen,” she stresses. “I never thought I’d win, and now I’m literally living in a dream home. It’s pretty surreal!”
Minto has been supporting our community here in Ottawa for more than 65 years. Building the Minto Dream Home grand prize for the CHEO Dream of a Lifetime Lottery is an extension of that support for the CHEO Foundation. Half a million lives annually, from patients to family members to friends, are positively impacted by CHEO, and we want to help them continue their amazing work. Each year, we continue to innovate to design a home that our community, partners, and lucky winners will all fall in love with.
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