Ontario grandparents keep $70M Lotto Max win a secret from their family for almost two months

The Hannons have a quite a few plans for their jackpot, but many are centered around their family.

Older couple holding a $70 million lotto cheque
After finding out that they had won, Doug Hannon initially even decided to keep the win a secret from his wife until he had her prepared her dinner after she came home from work. (Courtesy: OLG)

For nearly two months, Doug and Enid Hannon from Lakefield, Ont., kept a big secret from their entire family. They had won $70 million with Lotto Max in the Feb. 20, 2024 draw, with a ticket that Enid purchased at a grocery store while on their way to “camp” in Kawartha Lakes.

At first, not telling her loved ones was very difficult for the couple, especially Edin, who said she is very open and expressive with all who know her.

“Keeping this secret was killing me,” said Edin, while claiming her prize at the OLG Prize Centre.

The couple even kept it a secret from their children and grandchildren. They agreed to first get financial and legal advice, before sharing the news and making plans for the money. It wasn't until about a week before collecting their prize, Doug and Enid finally decided to share the good news with their children and grandchildren.

“We hugged and cried and started talking about this wonderful opportunity we now have to help family and others,” said Doug and Enid.

As for their extended family: they waited until the end of their winner celebration at the OLG Prize Centre, and invited them to a "special family meeting." That’s where they finally revealed their big win — alongside a promise of a big family trip to celebrate together.

“This is truly a blessing for us and our family,” said the couple. “Like many people, you always hope to win the lottery, but we never dreamt this would happen to us! We are so very thankful.”

Despite the circulating news about a winning ticket sold in the Kawartha Lakes area, the Hannons had no idea that they could potentially be the lucky winners.

“I was completely unaware that a winning ticket had been sold in our area. So, when I saw ‘Big Winner’ on the phone screen, I was shaking! My heart was pounding. I had to stare at it for a while and process all those zeros. Then, I had to check it a few more times,” said Doug, who checked his ticket the day after the draw.

Doug, who has been retired for a few years, decided not to mention anything to his wife until she got home from work.

“I went to the garage and buried my head in some work while I struggled with disbelief and thought about our next steps,” said Doug, who then went to get dinner ready for when his wife got home, and waited until after they ate to share the news.

“Doug told me to come into the computer room and the OLG website was on the computer screen, and he told me to check the numbers on the ticket,” said Edin. “When I realized we had won the prize, I first thought it was a $70,000 win. Doug told me to recount all the zeros and that’s when it hit me that we won $70 million!”

The couple, who have been married for 51 years, are ready to put their winnings to good use — but one thing surely won’t change: their house.

“The house is going to be renovated, but we are going to stay where we are. Our neighbours are amazing, our location is perfect. So I would never move. I might have to add on, but nope, we are going to stay where we are," said Edin.

“I have been dreaming about a new kitchen for years and now I will get it, along with some other improvements to the house because we love where we live, and we don’t want to move."

The couple agree that the number one priority for this prize money is their family. They also want to share a portion of their winnings with various community causes.

“Our family is most important, and we want to share this with them. I want to ensure everyone is safe, secure and well taken care of,” said the couple.

Along with sharing the winnings with their family, the couple has a few extra ideas for what they'll do with the money.

“I would like to travel across Canada to experience the beautiful nature of this country from coast to coast,” said Doug, who loves the outdoors.

This is the second time this year that a Canadian has won a $70 million prize with Lotto Max — with the first winner being in Alberta, and now Ontario. There is another unclaimed ticket in Ontario from the April 19, 2024 draw. The ticket was purchased somewhere in Toronto, so make sure to check your hidden and forgotten compartments — you might be the next lucky winner.

Lotto Max, a nationwide game available to Canadians across all provinces and territories, offers players the chance to win big with draws every Tuesday and Friday. With a $5 per play cost, players can select their numbers or opt for a quick pick for their chance at joining the ranks of lucky winners. Lotto Max players in Ontario have won over $7.9 billion since 2009.

The winning ticket was purchased at Kinmount Independent Grocer on Kawartha Lakes Country Rd 121 in Kinmount, Ont. The winning numbers were 1, 4, 23, 24, 31, 40, 48. The Hannon couple matched all seven numbers to win the $70 million grand prize.

If you're looking to take a break from gambling, self-exclusion programs can be effective tools. See here for resources that are available across Canada.