Canada’s Love Affair with the Lottery

Canada has long had a love affair with the lottery, since the very first Canadian lottery was launched back in 1974. That first lottery jackpot of $1 million was shared among nine ladies from Quebec, but lottery jackpots have gotten a whole lot bigger since then.

The world record jackpot is still held by the US Powerball lottery which paid out the sum of over $1.5 Billion USD in January of 2016 to 3 lucky winners. The record sum paid out in Canada was $64 Million – no small amount! – which was won by a young lady named Zhe Wang in Ontario. Now that the opportunity exists to play Powerball in Canada by betting on the outcome of that draw, surely it won’t be too long before the existing Canadian record will be smashed.

There are already a number of lotteries running in Canada, reflecting the countries eagerness to get involved in lottery draws. Around 25% of the population regularly takes part in lottery draws, with that number rising when the jackpots rollover to sums of $50 million or more.

Lucky Lottery Winners from Canada

With so many lottery players, it’s no surprise to discover that Canada has had its share of weird and wacky lottery winner stories:

Barbara and Douglas Fink from Edmonton have been dubbed ‘Canada’s Luckiest Couple’ thanks to their lottery winning habit. Douglas split a $128,000 win with four friends back in 1989, and the couple hit the jackpot again in 2010 when they won $100,000. In February of this year they made it third time lucky, this time snaring a massive $8.1 million on the Lotto 6/49 draw. Maybe they’ll give someone else a chance now?

Olga Beno from Nova Scotia had been dreaming of a lottery win for just shy of 30 years before it finally became a reality. She has used the same numbers for all that time, numbers that came to her in a dream back in 1989 and which she has stuck with since then. In December of last year her dreams came true in the form of a $5.2 million lottery win, which she plans to use to build a dream (sorry) home.

Missing Ticket

Finally, Kathryn Jones from Ontario enjoyed more than her share of good fortune to be able to claim a $50 million jackpot. The winning numbers were drawn in November 2012, but Ms Jones had mislaid her ticket shortly after she bought it and was unaware that she was a winner. Over the course of the next year a total of 435 people unsuccessfully tried to claim the prize from the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation. Perhaps growing tired of having to investigate all of these bogus claims, the Lottery organisers managed to track down 55-year-old Kathryn and showed up on her doorstep with the good news.

The first lottery in Canada was founded as a way to raise desperately needed funds for the upcoming 1976 Olympics, and provoked a certain amount of controversy at the time. However, it was a huge success and paved the way for the multitude of lottery options available to Canadian players today, each hoping to write their own story of outrageous good fortune into the lottery history books.