|Jo-Ann and Gaetan Champagne won the $50 million Lotto Max jackpot. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA - Hawkesbury, Ont., couple Jo-Ann and Gaetan Champagne thought they scored big with a $50,000 win, but it turned out their winning Lotto Max ticket came with a few more zeros -- it's worth $50 million.
"I've been walking around like I'm in a dream since Saturday," Jo-Ann, 49, told QMI Agency Monday.
The pair was headed to Ottawa to celebrate New Year's Eve when Jo-Ann told her husband to pull over so they could check their lottery ticket.
She walked into the convenience store and was ecstatic to find out she had won -- only she misread her ticket.
"I thought it was only $50,000," the mother of two said. "I was happy just to change my bathroom around."
Champagne called her husband into the store to double check the ticket and to call their two sons to share the good news -- they would each get $5,000.
They then had the store clerk triple-check their numbers.
"I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw all those zeros," Jo-Ann said.
The clerk told them they had actually won $50 million.
"(My husband) called our sons and said, 'We cant give you $5,000 each. No, we'll have to give you more like $1 million now'," she said with a laugh.
Jo-Ann insists that winning the $50 million can largely be credited to her longtime love affair with the number 11.
"It's my lucky number. I got married on the 11th, my mom was born on the 11th, my dad was born on the 11th month, my youngest son was born on the 11th month ... everything revolves around 11," Jo-Ann said. "And look, we won the darn thing on the last day of 2011."
The winning ticket was purchased at a Pharmaprix Drugstore in Hawkesbury, where Jo-Ann and Gaetan were "bargain shopping for Boxing Day," she said.
"I brought in a winning Cash for Life and we won off it," she said.
With the $50 million, the pair plans to help out family and give back to the community where they have strong ties.
"We're so well-known, people come through town just to say hi to us," the new millionaire said.
For years, the Champagne's owned Jo's Depanneur, a popular convenience store in the small town.
"It was 12 years and three months of working every day," she said. "We just had enough of it, we needed a change." The couple sold the store in October and Gaetan opened up a hobby shop.
Jo-Ann continued to work at the store for the new owners but has quit since winning the jackpot.
Their son Jonathan, 26, owns local snack bar Resto-Champagne and their other son Matthew, 30, makes cardboard boxes in Lachute, Que.
"We're just down-to-earth, hard-working people," Jo-Ann said.
The couple heads to Toronto Tuesday to collect their winnings.