MONTREAL — An extended Quebec family has found out there are at least 60 million reasons to attend the traditional family New Year's dinner.
It was on Jan. 1 when Annie Roy suggested to her relatives around the table they should form a group to buy tickets for the Jan. 6 Lotto Max draw.
On Thursday, that initiative paid off as 26 family members, plus two close friends, were given cheques for winning the $60-million jackpot, which Loto-Quebec calls its biggest ever payout.
Not a bad return on a total outlay of $100.
"We have some teachers, some engineers, some students, some retired...and (soon) we will have more retired!"
Roy, who has already gone back to purchase another ticket, said the winners are aged between 21 and 71.
All but one hail from Quebec's Monteregie region, southeast of Montreal, according to Roy's spouse, Gilles Leprohon.
"We have some teachers, some engineers, some students, some retired...and (soon) we will have more retired!'' he said.
The lottery winners celebrate after receiving their cheques on Thursday in Montreal. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/CP)
Leprohon, who works on contract for Loto-Quebec, says he's seen many lottery winners announced over the years and that it is surreal to join them.
"I always hoped, but it's only a chance, and now it's my chance,'' said the 58-year-old, who hopes to retire in the spring.
The family members say they haven't all decided on how to spend their money, but some list vacations, new vehicles and setting money aside for young children as among their priorities.
Lottery winner Jean-Marie Boivin shows off a lottery ticket purchased for the next lottery on Thursday in Montreal. Twenty-six members of the same family, including Boivin, and two friends, are sharing a $60-million lottery win. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/CP)
Roy's cousin, Julie Boivin, said she got some funny looks when she showed up for work as usual on Monday morning.
"My colleagues found I was a bit strange...I thought it was completely normal (to go to work), but I guess not,'' she said.
"We're trying not to change too much, because we want to keep our feet on the ground.''
The ticket was bought at a gas station in Ange-Gardien, about 75 kilometres east of Montreal.