Having a couple of loonies [coins] in her pocket at the right time will allow Elizabeth Ross and her husband Douglas to buy a new car, renovate their home and make things a little easier for their loved ones.
Tuesday afternoon, Elizabeth Ross stopped at a lottery booth to buy tickets for the next day's Lotto 6/49 draw while her husband headed to a nearby coffee shop.
"I said, 'Oh, give me a Set for Life,'" she recalled. "That's the first one I bought this year. I don't buy too many of them because we buy 6/49 and Super7, so it runs into a lot of money. I just bought that one because I had two loonies in my pocket."
But the couple, who reside on Meadows Road outside of Sydney, won't have to be quite so careful with their pennies now, as they're Cape Breton's newest lottery winners.
Thursday morning, they appeared at Atlantic Lotto offices in Moncton, N.B., where they presented their winning Set For Life ticket. Instead of taking the prize of $1,000 a week for 25 years, the couple opted for a lump sum payment of $675,000.
Both retired, Elizabeth, 68, had worked as a merchandiser for Carlton Cards, while Douglas, 70, worked in construction. Married for 49 years, they have a daughter and two sons, one is deceased.
As she entered the coffee shop and waited for her husband, who was waiting at the counter, Ross scratched the first block off the ticket, finding nothing. She placed the ticket in her purse and didn't think of it again until several hours later, at home.
When Ross scratched the ticket and discovered it contained three blocks that read Set For Life.
"It was just like walking on air, you're so high, it's unbelievable," she said, after discovering the win. "We couldn't even eat supper, we were so excited."
They visited their daughter in nearby Sydney River and she verified the win. The couple began to travel to Moncton the next day but experienced poor weather.
"The storm in New Glasgow was unbelievable, the whiteouts," Ross said, adding they arrived in Moncton late, so picking up the cheque had to wait until Thursday morning.
Douglas wants to replace his 1996 Volkswagen Golf, Ross said, and they'll probably perform some renovations on their home.
"All those things you have to do after 40 years," she said.
They'll also help out their family, which includes one granddaughter in university and another in high school.
Cape Breton seems to be on a lotto winning streak, with several major prizes won by island residents in the last 12 months. Most recently, Helen Penny picked up a cheque for $1 million, from the Dec. 27 Atlantic 49 draw.