Nfld. & Labrador

Mansion shopping? Lotto winner has $1.2M Deer Lake home on the market

A man who built a luxury waterfront home in Deer Lake, N.L., after striking it big in Lotto 6/49 hopes to downsize, if the right buyer comes along for the home that's on the market for nearly $1.2 million.
Just past these gates is the Deer Lake, N.L., dream home, going for nearly $1.2 million. (Newfoundland Island Realty)

The odds aren't great that you'll ever win the top prize in Lotto 6/49 — about 1 in 14 million — but if you want to live a lottery-winner lifestyle, there's a Deer Lake, N.L., mansion on the market that fits the bill.

Its $1,195,000 price tag, however, may require some creative financing to get you through its wrought iron gates.

The luxury waterfront home is just one of the ways Jim MacIsaac spent his $10-million Lotto 6/49 win, a change of fate that sprang from a simple ticket bought in the Gander Mall when the former salesman was on his way home to Corner Brook 14 years ago.

"April 10, 2002. I don't think I'll ever forget that day," said MacIsaac, in perhaps a slight understatement of the situation.

Jim MacIsaac, left, receives hit it big with Lotto 6/49 in April 2002, snagging a $10-million cheque. (CBC)

The memory may be strong, but MacIsaac wants to leave a little bit of that day in the past. Well, more than a little bit of it — about 3,700 square feet. 

MacIsaac was 55 when he won the lottery in 2002. But as he now lives alone, he wants to downsize.

Offers haven't exactly been flooding in: The home has been on the market for about four years.

'It kind of got out of hand'

The Nicholsville Road mansion is filled to the brim with designer buzzwords: bird's eye maple, built-in cabinets, a master bedroom balcony. The ceiling in the home theatre twinkles with fibre-op lights, mimicking constellations.  

Tired of watching loons paddle by on the lake from the enclosed hot tub? Just turn on the wall-mounted TV instead and soak.

Not exactly what MacIsaac envisioned as a small summer home, and a crash pad near the airport in between bouts of international travel.

Tired of staring at boring old nature? Flip on the TV without leaving the tub. (Newfoundland Island Realty)

"It kind of got out of hand," he admitted of the planning process he and his wife at the time began just weeks after his big win.

"It was supposed to be initially just a normal, run-of-the-mill three bedroom house. But we started adding to it, and adding to it, and putting in some of the most modern things that were available at the time, in terms of electronics and security systems and whatever."

A long, winding stone driveway leading to a bubbling koi pond is hardly run-of-the-mill, but most of the home's fancy detailing doesn't seem to matter much to MacIsaac.

"I can't think of one specific thing that stands out, except for the location. It's a gorgeous spot right here on the beach."

​One man, four bedrooms

All the beautiful scenery of the shores of Deer Lake doesn't mask the fact that the luxury living has become a bit too outsized for one man.

"There's areas of the house I don't even go into anymore. I don't have any reason to go there," said MacIsaac, adding that of the house's four bedrooms and four bathrooms, he only really uses one of each.

That's a lot of house for one man. (Newfoundland Island Realty)

Perhaps winning the lottery has imparted a bit more financial patience onto MacIsaac than your average homeowner, as he says he's "not in a panic" about the long wait.

"That type of house in the Deer Lake area, or anywhere I guess in western Newfoundland, is not going to sell overnight. It's going to take some time," he said, adding he has turned down a few lowball offers.

The million-dollar market

MacIsaac brought on realtor Perry Butt last year to boost the selling process.

Although Butt said there have been a few bites, he admits he has a big challenge ahead of him, with the most expensive home he's ever handled.

"Just trying to find the right clientele that would appreciate it — and afford to pay for it," said Butt.

And the pool of people who can afford a million-dollar home in the province is a small one.

"Last year, to this date, there was only 12 houses in that price range sold in Newfoundland. And of course they were all sold in St. John's," said Butt.

And there is no shortage of mansions to currently pick from: according to, there are 24 other homes for sale in the province listed for $1 million or more. Twenty-three of them are on the Avalon Peninsula.

The nearly $1.2 million might get you a waterfront view in Toronto or Vancouver, but it would probably be from the balcony of a tiny condominium, not an expansive Deer Lake patio. (Newfoundland Island Realty)

Maybe a mainlander?

While the home's price might raise an eyebrow along the west coast, perhaps one sales strategy could be to attract a buyer used to a far more expensive market.

Last September in Toronto, a dilapidated, "unlivable" home in a trendy neighbourhood sold for $1 million. This January in Vancouver, an 86-year-old fixer-upper went on the market for $2.4 million. It sold.

With the housing markets in both those big cities remaining white hot, surely there's someone who wants to escape the rat race and get the most out of their millions?

Butt would be more than welcome to show them around Deer Lake.

"Coming from Ontario, they would certainly see the value in this piece of property. In the Toronto area, it would probably be $4 or $5 million. So here, it would be a bargain for those people."

MacIsaac's ready to bid goodbye to his custom hardwood flooring. (Newfoundland Island Realty)

Only time will tell whether MacIsaac's luck has run out in his bid to sell his mansion. 

"It may never sell. Maybe my children or grandchildren will be living there — I don't know. You don't know what tomorrow's going to bring," said MacIsaac.

Sage words from the big winner, who still plays the lottery along with a group of his friends. 

"I think the most we've ever won is about $20, but they keep hoping. And they keep getting me to buy the tickets because they think I'm the lucky one."

About the Author

Lindsay Bird

CBC News

Lindsay Bird is a journalist with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, based in Corner Brook.