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This woman won a stay at a luxury hotel — and gave it away for love

“I just remember my mom and dad holding hands and thinking, ‘This is what love is.’ ”

Nov 30, 2015

by Elizabeth Hames


Donna and Jack Engel

When Karen Engel won two tickets to stay at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton, she knew she would never use them. She had entered Alberta Venture’s Mac Memories contest so, if she won, she could give the prize to her parents, Donna and Jack.

And that’s exactly what she did. On Saturday, Engel and her brothers presented their parents with the package at a surprise party for their birthdays – both her parents celebrated a milestone this year – and their 46th wedding anniversary. Engle says her parents teared up when they learned of the gift, which included a one-night stay in a luxury room, a three-course dinner for two, a buffet breakfast for two and a bottle of the Macdonald’s 100th Anniversary Blend. “They were pretty stunned,” Engel says. “They said, ‘Are you serious?’ ”

To enter, contestants were asked to send in their fondest memory of the Hotel Mac. Engel’s was chosen out of dozens of thoughtful and detailed entries. She told of her first visit to the Mac when she was seven or eight years old. Her parents had taken her and her brother out for a fancy brunch, and Engel was in awe of the dashing staff and brilliant architecture. “To me it seemed like a giant ballroom with ceilings that touched the sky,” she says.

Engel remembers watching her parents walking side-by-side through the hotel and stealing kisses in the lobby. “I just remember my mom and dad holding hands and thinking, ‘This is what love is,’ ” she says.

Congratulations to Karen, Donna and Jack. And thank you to everyone who shared your Mac memories with us!

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