BRITISH COLUMBIA

PNE Prize Homes Sure Have Changed Through The Years (PHOTOS)

08/21/2015 06:27 EDT | Updated 08/21/2015 07:59 EDT

The prize home draw at Vancouver's Pacific National Exhibition has been an annual tradition for years — 81, to be exact.

Now one of B.C.'s biggest lotteries, the contest was dreamed up during the Depression, when PNE organizers wanted to get people excited while also promoting local building products and design.

Unveiled in 1934, the first PNE prize home was North America's only lottery giveaway of its kind, according to the organization. The dream bungalow was valued at $5,000, and came with a free lot on Renfrew Street, $500 in furnishings from Eaton's department store, and a "state of the art" electric stove.

That year's winner was Vancouver mechanic Leonard Frewin. As the story released by PNE goes, Frewin wanted to marry his girlfriend, Emily Leitch, but her father felt the young man couldn't provide properly for her and wouldn't give his blessing.

On the last day of the PNE, Frewin bought a dream home ticket for 25 cents. When he heard on the radio that he had won, he waited on the stoop of Emily's home until she came out in the morning for work. Then, he proposed to her.

The Frewins lived in the original 800 sq.-ft. prize home for more than 60 years until they passed away within months of one other in the 1990s.

This year's prize home is an environmentally friendly, 3,080 sq.-ft. house that comes with a lake-view lot in Naramata, B.C.

The property — including the land — is valued at a cool $2.1 million.

Take a look at how much the PNE prize homes have changed through the decades:


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PNE Prize Home 2015