Great-grandparents will be able to fulfill their dreams after heartwarming win
By Kate Northrop
NOËLVILLE, Canada — After scanning their Lotto Max ticket several times on the Ontario Lottery's app, two lucky grandparents made an extra trip to a retailer to verify the numbers on their Lotto Max ticket actually won them the $70 million (US$56 million) jackpot.
Marc Meilleur and his wife, Dorothy-Ann, are dedicated lottery players whose commitment finally paid off to the tune of $70 million on Feb. 26, 2021. They each buy their own tickets and never miss a Lotto Max draw, with Marc using Quick Picks and Dorothy-Ann playing her numbers consisting of birthdays and anniversaries.
It was Marc's Quick Pick with the numbers 11, 17, 19, 22, 27, 31, and 40 that turned their world upside down. The 60-year-old retired mechanic scanned his tickets the morning after the draw using the Lottery's mobile app and saw "$70,000,000" pop up on the screen. Unconvinced, he checked the ticket over and over, at least four or five more times, only to get the same message.
"That's when I went to the bedroom to get Dorothy-Ann and tell her, 'I think I have the winning ticket,'" Marc recounted to the Lottery while collecting his prize. "But my wife thought I was joking, so I scanned the ticket again to show her the $70 million win on the screen."
Dorothy-Ann could not believe her eyes and proceeded to check the numbers in other ways, first calling the Lottery and then going online.
Even after verifying the winning number using three different methods, Marc and Dorothy-Ann just had to be sure, so they headed out to the Mayer Services Esso gas station on David North Street where Marc bought the ticket. Waiting until the other customers in the store left, they approached the owner, who is also a friend, and asked to validate their ticket one more time through the lottery terminal.
The whirlwind of events to follow were enough for reality to finally hit them.
Upon scanning the ticket, the lottery terminal played a "Winner" jingle and froze. Then, a Lottery representative called the store and asked to first speak with the retailer and then Marc.
"I started crying tears of joy," Dorothy-Ann told the Lottery with tears still in her eyes. "My mind was racing, and my hands were shaking, and I was wondering what to do next."
The grandparents first called up their daughter, who was initially worried that her mother's crying indicated bad news. After learning about the win, she was instantly relieved and overjoyed that quite the opposite was true. The winners texted their two sons next to share the unbelievable news.
According to the Lottery, the winners are settling into the reality that their good fortune will be able to change the lives of their family for many generations. With seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, they can be reassured that their loved ones will be well taken care of.
"As a parent, you want to provide the best for your children, and now we can take care of them without worry," Marc said. "We want them to be able to buy new homes and vehicles, but we also have a great team of financial advisors helping all of us set up the grandchildren and great-grandchildren for future success."
As for their long-term plans, the couple had mentioned that they love the natural beauty of the Sudbury region, so they want to purchase a new home there and remain in the area while dedicating their time and resources to supporting their community and helping various charities and institutions they feel close to.
Their top priority is buying a new truck and an RV, which they will use to tour Canada once it is safe to travel again.
"I am not a big fan of flying across the ocean, so I want to drive and see all of the country which I love," Marc explained. "Starting on the east coast, there are so many beautiful areas to discover all over this amazing country. I've only seen it on TV, and now me and my wife want to see all of Canada in person."