By Todd Northrop
RICHMOND, B.C. — A gay Vancouver couple who are marking their 30th anniversary next month will have plenty to celebrate after winning a $50 million lottery jackpot.
Kurt and Claude Blanchette-Ebert claimed the winning ticket for last week's Lotto Max draw on Tuesday in front of media.
Sixty-three-year-old Kurt told reporters he could barely believe his eyes when he checked his ticket, adding the win has not yet sunk in.
"I stuck my ticket into this machine and it read $50 million," he said. "I rubbed my eyes and the first thing I said is, 'Holy s***.'" The couple was so shocked by their win on Friday, it took them a few days to work up the courage to cash in.
Kurt, a pastry chef, said he and his partner have faced some tough financial times lately and the win is icing on their cake.
The couple was met by a couple of dozen reporters, photographers and lottery employees.
They were handed the check amid cheers and applause.
Claude Blanchette-Ebert, 52, had worked as an upholsterer. Both he and his partner have since quit their jobs.
"Well, yesterday I had to quit my job," laughed Kurt. "I've never seen that side of my boss. He was laughing and rolling on the floor. Today was a good day (to claim)."
The couple, who have never been on vacation together, have some plans for the money, but are still considering their options.
Despite their new wealth, Kurt said he doesn't intend to change much.
"We'll still be the same people... I hope," he laughed. "We are not extravagant but we need new cars and we'll probably buy a new house."
Kurt was born in Germany and came to Canada in 1964. He met Claude in Edmonton in 1980 when he moved there to work as a chef in a hotel restaurant. They moved to Vancouver in 1986.
Kurt was philosophical about beating the 28 million to one odds of winning.
"If you think you might get rich with lottery tickets, think again. It's luck and good karma," he said.
As if $50 million wasn't enough, the couple also won a free play for the next Lotto Max draw.
"There's the free play voucher for you," B.C. Lottery Corp. president Michael Graydon said after handing the couple the check.
"Given your luck, I would play that on Friday."