MONTREAL - After sifting through a couple of phoney offers, a Quebec man found a buyer willing to snap up his snowbank for a cool $3,550.
Michel Levesque, who put his snowbank up for auction on EBay, thought he had unloaded the imposing mound on Saturday.
But the top bid turned out to be a prank, said Levesque, who planned to donate his earnings to a local youth organization.
When the second-highest bidder also declined to buy the pile, he called Sophie Rouillier, whose $3,000 offer was No. 3.
Rouillier and husband, Claude Fraser, jumped at the chance, and, with the help of their three children, dug up another $550.
"It's a snowbank like any other one, but it's the fact of giving a donation ... it's not really for the snowbank," Rouillier said on Sunday, as she stood next to her frosty heap in front of Levesque's house.
She said her family was so thrilled with the purchase that her children decided to break their piggy banks to match the top bid.
The Longueuil, Que., family donates money to different organizations every year, but never more than a few hundred dollars, she said.
But Rouillier said they got caught up in the flurry of media excitement that followed the auction, and kept increasing their offer until it hit $3,000.
"If other people can be encouraged by all of this enthusiasm, it will be great," she said.
Rouillier and her family will be in front of Levesque's house on Monday, selling lumps of the snowbank by the shovel to raise more money for the charity.
The rest will be carted away in a neighbour's trailer. It will be put to good use, she said.
"We're going to bring our shovels and bring the snow home," she said. "We're going to put it on our lawn so the kids can play in it. Of course, we have a snowbank also, but it's not as high as this one."
The Montreal area was pounded by two snowstorms in recent weeks, which helped build the giant bank on Levesque's front yard, in Saint-Eustache, just north of the city.
Levesque said the snowbank auction started off as a joke, but interest in the heap quickly snowballed.
He was shocked to see the bids roll in.
"It's good news, everyone's happy," Levesque said. "All's well that ends well."
On Sunday, he said the snowbank was dirtier than when he first photographed it a couple of weeks ago, but contends the Rouillier family has made a quality purchase.
"It melted a bit, but it's still at a noticeable height," Levesque said of the two-metre mound.
"It's not an extraordinary snowbank, but it's a nice snowbank."