It was a Mother’s Day to remember for Sophie Rizavas of Toronto who picked up her $50,000,005 cheque Tuesday afternoon at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto. She is Ontario’s latest multi-millionaire following her jackpot win in the May 9, 2014 LOTTO MAX draw. She also won $5 for matching the first two numbers of her ENCORE play.
“It’s quite a coincidence. My husband and I came to Canada from Greece on May 10, 1970 and 44 years later, May 10, 2014, we find out that we are multi-millionaires,” said Sophie, who plays LOTTO MAX, LOTTO 6/49 and LOTTARIO occasionally. “I’m overwhelmed but so excited about the future.”
“It is always great when OLG gets to celebrate with our lottery players and give away millions of dollars!” said John Mahony, OLG’s Executive Director of Lottery Marketing, as he presented Sophie with her cheque for $50,000,005.
The 63 year old married mother of two and grandmother went to a local retailer to check her ticket on Saturday evening. “First I checked my ticket on the self-checker and saw a number of zeros. I thought I won $50,000 so I took my ticket to the cashier to double check.”
“The young man at the cash said he thought I won $10,000, and I said ‘No. No. I think its $50,000!’ We continued to chat until OLG called to speak to me, and a printed receipt came out of the machine with $50,000,000 in bold letters! I couldn’t believe it. I just kept repeating, ‘Oh my God!'”
During this time, the store became quite busy and all customers were excited to meet Toronto’s newest multi-millionaire. “Everyone was congratulating me and offering their well wishes. The young man at the cash was crying and gave me a big hug!”
Sophie’s husband, Tom, was waiting for her when she returned home as they were heading out for dinner with their family to celebrate Mother’s Day.
At dinner that evening, the family settled into a typical family-type conversation. One daughter mentioned that their roof needed to be repaired, the other spoke about a trip she had just booked.
“‘Not to worry! We will take care of it,'” Tom said. “The girls looked at me as if to say what is going on! And that’s when I announced that their mother and I had some news to share. I started off the conversation with ‘You are both so lucky!'”
The hard working couple plan to retire immediately. “I work four jobs as a cleaner at two hospitals and two other facilities and my husband drives limousines for the airport. It will be nice to spend time together.”
“Also, it’s our 50th anniversary next year,” added Tom. “The Golden Anniversary celebration begins now!”
As for their plans for the money, a family trip is the first thing on their list. “We’ve never had a proper family vacation. We’ve tried over the years but someone’s always had to stay home to work. We’d like to go somewhere warm and celebrate this life-changing win!”
Asked if she will play LOTTO MAX again, Sophie generously responded, “I think it’s somebody else’s turn to win.”
The winning ticket was purchased at Sak’s Fine Foods on O’Connor Drive in Toronto.
Since its launch in September 2009, Ontario LOTTO MAX players have won over $2 billion in prizes, including 34 jackpot wins and 205 winning MAXMILLIONS tickets from all across the province.
Friday’s LOTTO MAX jackpot is an estimated $13 million.