Community abuzz over $55M-winning Lotto Max ticket bought in North Saanich


Was it at the Co-op gas station on West Saanich Road? Or the one on the Pat Bay Highway? Or maybe it was the McTavish Market just south of the airport, the one with the $55-million Lotto Max sign waving in the wind.

Wherever the winning ticket was bought within the North Saanich region, one thing is for certain: the person holding that ticket has won the biggest jackpot in Vancouver Island history.

People who live in the area have been talking about the news non-stop after BCLC announced the lucky ticket, matching all seven numbers of Tuesday night’s draw, was purchased somewhere in the Saanich North region.

The three convenience stores are the only possibilities where the lucky numbers were sold, but so far, it remains a mystery.

At the McTavish Market, Marlene Smith, working behind the counter at the family-run convenience store, has a gut feeling she might have sold the golden ticket.

“Someone from the district manager from the Lottery Corporation called me this morning. So, I think it’s a hint,” she told CHEK News Wednesday.,

The call was only to notify Marlene that the winning ticket was bought in the community, not at her particular store. But still, she’d love nothing better than to add to a gallery of photos on her wall showcasing previous lottery winners.

Asked if she feels like she’s running a lucky store, Smith laughs before replying. “Yes. Some people call me the ‘Lucky Lady’.”

Smith said that on Wednesday, it was the only topic of conversation at the store.

“Literally every single customer,” she said. “Even the ones who forgot to buy, they still talk about it, so it’s great news for somebody. I’m excited for that.”

Island lottery winners of years past

Vancouver Island’s newest and yet-to-be-identified millionaire isn’t the only one to win big here.

In 2011, Campbell River resident Dave Rennie won $35.7 million in a Lotto Max jackpot.

“We’re going to put it in the bank, and uh, I dunno,” Rennie said while collecting his cheque at the BC Lottery Corporation headquarters 12 years ago.

In 1999, the Island’s most infamous lottery winner, Vinnie Parker, bought a trailer park in Zeballos to enjoy his winnings with his former logging colleagues.

And he made sure to keep away from anyone wanting to meet him once he became an instant millionaire.

“It’s been a curse, with people bugging me. Which I told them before, I didn’t want to be bothered, and they keep hounding ya, and you do. And I don’t like it,” Parker said at the time to CHEK News reporter Harry Maunu.

ISLAND REWIND: Vinny, the one-of-a-kind lottery winner, speaks to CHEK News in 1999

This $55-million jackpot is a record for Vancouver Island, but the identity of the vendor is not released until the prize is claimed, and it hasn’t been unusual for some winners to wait until the last possible moment to come forward.

According to the BC Lottery Corporation, the winning ticket, with all seven numbers matching Tuesday’s draw, has yet to be claimed.

READ MORE: Port Alberni woman celebrates $1M lotto win: ‘My dream come true!’

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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