Lottery News Round-Up in Canada

By Ben Hamill - January 23 2016
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The lottery in Canada has been very active lastly with big winners collecting their prizes around the country.

Edmonton

Bradley Ogurian of Sherwood Park, just outside of Edmonton, is used to choosing his own numbers when he plays the Lotto 6/49. That habit, plus a couple of mistakes, netted him $2 million in the Western 649 lottery.

Ogurian buys national Lotto 6/49 tickets at Britnell Husky Market in Edmonton every week and marks his own numbers, usually numbers that have some special meaning for him. In November Ogurian accidently ticked the Western 649, in addition to the Lotto 6/49, so he ended up playing both lotteries. That was a lucky error because he won in the Western 649.

Ogurian’s second mistake was in mixing up his son’s birthday — his son was born on the 7th but he choose “6” instead.

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He matched the winning numbers — 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, and 28 — and sat in his car, staring at the ticket for quite some time before it sunk in that he had won. “I confirmed them over and over again in my car" Ogurian said. He plans to pay off his mortgage and car payments and then take a family trip.

Saskatchewan

The Lotto Max December 11th draw was a lucky draw for a group of Saskatoon co-workers who will be dividing one million dollars from the December 11th Lotto Max Draw. Gerald Friesen recounted that the group was on a coffee break when he checked their tickets and saw that they had won the one million dollar prize.

The group matched one of the 13 maxmillions sets with their quick pick ticket. Each of the 18 winners will receive just over $55,000. Plans include paying off bills, planning vacations and donating to charity.

The following Lotto Max draw, which occurred on December 25th with a $60 million grand prize, has not yet been collected, but lottery officials say that the winning ticket was sold in Mississauga Ontario. The Lotto Max jackpot now resets to approximately $32 million.

Ottawa

Demonstrating a “smell” for money, a group of 26 current and former employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in Ottawa have won a $32.6 million Lotto Max jackpot. The office pool has been running for years and the present pool organizer, Philippe Bussière, said that his co-workers could barely believe their good luck.” In a OLG press release Bussière said “It’s been a crazy weekend of talking to the group, convincing them this win was not a joke. I heard a lot of joyous screaming on the phone.”

Co-worker Francine Moore had the job of checking the tickets after each draw. When she noticed they had matched all seven numbers, in disbelief she asked her husband to check again.

"When he confirmed the numbers" says Moore, "I was so excited that I wanted to start calling people but didn't have anyone's number and couldn't remember anyone's number. I was able to call a co-worker who was in the bath tub and didn't want to take the call. I finally convinced her to take the call and when she heard the news, she was in shock."

Today Bussière laughs at his lackadaisical attitude towards the pool’s tickets — he had photocopies of the ticket but had placed the original winning ticket in a mug on his desk. Evidently tax employees aren’t as obsessive about details as everyone believes. Once Bussière realized that the winning number was in his pool’s ticket purchase he moved the ticket to a safer place.

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Other winners were equally as shocked.

Suzie Vajcovec was walking her dogs in the Gatineau Hills when she got the call. “I was hyperventilating, had to pull over” she says. “Needless to say I didn’t get to go for a hike with my dogs. I will make it up to them.”

Lise Lafortune was having a cup of tea on her porch when she got the call, “My colleague said “this isn’t a joke, you have to believe me, we won the Lotto Max.”

David Pembroke was in the process of leasing a truck. He got the call and immediately bought the truck. “Well, the truck is big enough to pull something,” he joked today, “so I need a boat.”

The winning ticket was purchased at the International News on Laurier Avenue. The owner says it is great news for him as well as for the winners. “Probably bring more people here to buy tickets,” says International News owner Runmin Lin, “so that’s good news for me.”

The employees share the Lotto Max jackpot worth more than $32-million dollars.Fourteen of the winners will receive $1.6 million dollars each and twelve other winners, who shared ticket purchases, will receive approximately $800,000 apiece.

What will they do with the money? None intend to quit their jobs, at least not now. Most said they would pay off bills or go on a vacation.

Quebec

Twenty graveyard shift workers at Rona hardware retailer will be sharing $55 million after their Loto Quebec win. Each will receive $2.75 million. The $55-million prize is the most money that Loto Quebec has ever distributed, with a draw held every Friday.

Claudine Forget said she feared the worst when co-worker Dominic Lord sent her an online message saying "Call me — it's urgent.” But within minutes the entire group knew that they had won the lottery.

Lord, who bought the ticket at a local gas station, said that the gas station attendant looked at him “funny” on Sunday when he came in to see if he had won. "She kept on saying: ‘I've never seen this before, I've never seen this before. I didn't realize what she meant until she (showed me the winning numbers)…Everyone heard me scream."

As the retailer that sold the ticket, the gas station will receive $550,000, equivalent to one per cent of the jackpot.

Some of the employees are planning to retire early while others want to think as they play now to spend their money.

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