|JoAnn and Gaetan Champagne, of Hawkesbury, Ontario celebrate their $50-million LOTTO MAX win at the Ontario Lottery Group offices in Toronto on Wednesday, February 12, 2012. (Ashlee Lacasse/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
After playing the lottery for years Louis and Jo-Anne Chikoski, of Thunder Bay, claimed their $50 million Lotto Max jackpot on Monday.
“After checking my numbers online and saw that we matched all seven numbers, I couldn’t believe it,” said Louis. “I then called the OLG Support Centre to ask to read me the numbers and then they told me to go to a retailer to validate. When I did that the bells and whistles went off and I almost fainted, literally.”
The newly minted millionaires have been buying lottery tickets for as long as they can remember.
But up until now, they have never won more than pocket change. Neither of them, even in their wildest dreams, ever expected to hit the jackpot.
“He went white and his lips turned blue and I got so scared. It just took my breath away. I just kept staring at it and staring at it, closer and closer. It was phenomenal, totally phenomenal,” said Jo-Anne.
The couple hasn’t decided how to spend their fortune, but have made up their minds about one thing. They intend to travel — and do lots of it.
“I would love to see all of Canada. It’s the most beautiful country in the world. And then I would like to go overseas to visit my family in Norway and Italy,” said Jo-Anne.
Louis wants to use his millions to make good on a past regret.
“We have never been on a honeymoon and, by golly, we’re going on one,” he said.