Jean Laroque and his longtime partner Catherine Ennis just had the Halloween of a lifetime.
The couple, from the Eastern Townships near Montreal, took home a whopping $55 million in the Oct. 31 Lotto Max draw.
At first though, Ennis wasn’t sure it was a Halloween trick or a Halloween treat.
Because Laroque’s a bit of a jokester, Ennis didn’t take him seriously when he told her they had a winning ticket.
“I was baking and Jean was checking his tickets which I don’t really pay attention to,” Ennis said.
But then she noticed how he’d begun to turn pale, so she put aside the oat cakes.
“He was shaking, he was white and he was sweating,” Ennis recounted on Monday.
That’s when she knew something was up and started paying attention.
“We checked the tickets four times,” she said, adding they even made copies of the ticket to send to friends so they could double and triple check.
It’s been an unusually lucky stretch for some lottery players in Quebec with three different winners walking away with a total of $110 million.
A Montrealer, on a grocery run ahead of the Thanksgiving-long weekend snapped up a $50-million lottery ticket, while a group of 28 co-workers from Montreal’s Polytechnique split a $5million jackpot.
As for Laroque, he’s been buying tickets for the last 50 years, and used winnings from a previous draw to purchase the big winner.
Laroque was relieved on Monday to exchange the winning ticket for a cheque at Loto-Québec offices in Montreal.
He admitted to having slept fitfully after waking up during the night to make sure the ticket was still in his pocket.
Aside from some lost sleep, the retirees don’t expect their lives to change all that much.
“We don’t have any grand projects,” Laroque said. “We live a simple life, we like being outdoors, ride our bikes.”
Laroque went on to say that he and Ennis usually think long and hard before making big purchases.
More often than not, we don’t end up buying anything because we realize we don’t really need it, he explained.
While a new car or travelling might be in their future, Ennis said that is not a priority.
Rather than purchasing things for themselves, they hope to help their loved ones and give back to their community through charitable donations.
The couple already has a list of where they’d like to donate and who they’d like to help but that information remains a secret.
“When you buy a ticket, sometimes you go off and think: ‘Well, we’ll do this and we’ll do that,'” Ennis said. “And we’ve made a list over the years, so. There’s a lot of people on that list.”