Canada’s lottery has produced plenty of millionaires over the years. Lotteries in Canada were legally introduced in 1969 as a means of fundraising for large-scale projects on a provincial and federal level.
That includes the Canadian national lottery that emerged in 1974 to help the government pay for the 1976 Montreal Olympics. A $10 ticket earned each player the chance to win a share in a $1m prize draw – and the lottery proved hugely successful.
In more recent years two big national lotteries have emerged: the Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max. These are played on top of provincial lotteries that are organised by the following administrative regions: Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC), the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC), and Loto-Quebec, British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).
During the 1990s and 2000s a large number of millionaires were created through the national and regional lottery programs, while millions of dollars were also raised for good causes.
But only within the last two years have the Canada lottery records been taken to the next level. Below are the five biggest Lotto wins of all time in Canada.
Biggest Lottery Wins in Canada
Before we look at the five biggest winners, it’s worth taking note that there is currently a cap on the Lotto Max jackpot. That cap was raised from $60m to $70m for a single ticket in May 2019.
Now, you may think the cap isn’t fair to those who strike lucky – but it actually acts as a means of ensuring fairness across each draw. Rather than the total lottery take for that week being pooled too heavily onto one winning ticket, the proceeds can be shared out more evenly without harming the jackpot too severely.
With that in mind, you won’t be surprised to hear the biggest Canadian lottery wins have all been at that cap!
- $70m jackpot – Adlin Lewis – January 2020
- $70m jackpot – Family of Eight – February 2020
- $70m jackpot – Shu Ping Li – October 2020
- $70m jackpot – Noëlville couple – February 2021
- $70m jackpot split – Record $117m payout – June 2021
The first Lotto Max jackpot to hit the $70m cap was won by Adlin Lewis from Brampton in January 2020. Lewis was working as a credit risk manager and actually went to work on the day he won, knowing that he was a multi-millionaire. It was only when he returned home from work that he told his wife. “I’m overwhelmed, excited, happy and shocked but mostly, I feel very, very blessed,” he said.
A month after Lewis’ win, a family of eight from Quebec walked away with the $70m jackpot. An unnamed 22-year-old claimed the winning ticket in the grocery store in which he worked, and had to call his dad to drive him home because he was shaking so much. A spokesperson confirmed that the winner would share the prize with their family of eight, meaning each earned a cool $8.75m
When the Lotto Max jackpot hits $70m Canada usually takes notice. And this happened again in October 2020, when Montrealer Shu Ping Li decided to play the lottery for the first time ever. Li walked down to her local convenience store and bought 10 tickets. It was the second time Loto-Quebec had presented a local with the $70m jackpot, following the family of eight earlier in the year.
A year after that enormous win in Quebec, a Noëlville couple hit the same $70m jackpot. Marc and Dorothy-Ann Meilleur were regular lottery ticket buyers and on February 26 the Lotto Max computer landed on a ticket Marc had purchased at a gas station. After checking his Lotto phone app, he told his wife. “As a parent, you want to provide the best for your children, and now we can take care of them without worry,” Marc said.
While the biggest Canadian Lotto win on record is still a $70m windfall – this time split between two ticket holders, one in British Columbia and one in Ontario – what’s notable about the June 2021 Lotto Max draw was that it was the biggest in Canadian lottery history.
The draw paid out an eye-watering $117m to winners across the country – a whole $1 more than the previous big pot record set in October 2018, which had a $60 jackpot.
Take away the jackpot share, that’s $47m handed out to lucky winners and plenty of money also raised for good causes. It was reported that 21 winning tickets were sold in Ontario, 11 in British Columbia, 10 in Quebec and four in the Prairies.
First published on: Gambling.com