Source: Private collection of André Robitaille, numismatist
The National Colonization Lottery was officially founded in 1884 for the purpose of establishing a reserve fund for the settlement of the North. At the time, however, the law governing the holding of bazaars and lotteries stipulated that no cash prizes could be offered. Curé Labelle tried on three occasions to have the legislation amended to accommodate his lottery, but the Legislative Council rejected each of his requests. Unfortunately for the Reverend Father, the Council had strong representation from self-righteous ultramontanists as well as the logging companies, which had little inclination to see their lands swarming with settlers. Labelle therefore ensured that his colonization lottery complied with the limits of the law: the prizes would be in the form of goods and property.
In 1884, it was announced that 100,000 tickets would go on sale, priced at $1 each. The value of the 1,921 prizes was $50,000. As printed on the ticket, the grand prize was a property worth $10,000, consisting of a farm measuring 15 acres by 30 deep in the parish of Saint-Lazare. The lottery was a huge success. To avoid cheating, the drawings were performed by blind children.