The 67-year-old retired electrical contractor was in his car when he learned that the winning ticket for the September 8 Lotto Max draw had been sold in the Timiskaming / Cochrane district. He rushed home to check his ticket on the OLG app.
“I showed my wife the message on the app, but she couldn’t believe it and thought it was a mistake,” James said. “So I went to the store to have the ticket verified through the lottery terminal and that’s where all the bells and whistles rang!”
Eerikka said she didn’t believe him because her husband was always joking.
“I still don’t believe it,” she told the cameras in Toronto as the checks presented.
James’s daughter, one of four grown children, was with him at the store when they confirmed the win and immediately called to share the news with her siblings.
A regular lottery player, James buys one or two tickets a week, but doesn’t rely on special numbers.
“I always ask the retailer for quick pick numbers and that’s what got me the jackpot,” James said.
The last major award he won dates back almost 50 years.
“The last time I won a grand prize was in 1972 – $ 5,000 in a gas station contest,” James said. “Back then, $ 5,000 was a lot of money, but nothing compared to a jackpot of $ 65 million. Wow!
When asked if the couple were planning to go somewhere warm in the winter, Eerikka immediately nodded “no”. They said they plan to stay in their community for as long as possible.
“You can still dress warm for the winter, but there is little you can take off in the summer,” James said.
The 11-year-old grandparents, with a new baby on the way, plan to share the winnings with his family.
James bought his winning ticket at the Canadian Tire gas station on Front Street in Hearst.
Hearst, Ont. is located on the Mattawishkwia River on Route 11 over 250 km northwest of Timmins.