It’s no joke to suggest that April Fool’s Day will always hold special meaning for Dale McEwen of Regina.
On April 1, McEwen and her family were heading west on a ski trip to British Columbia. They stopped at a Co-op gas bar in Dunmore, Alberta, and McEwen bought a ticket for the Lotto Max draw that night.
“It hits you and you realize how much you have and what you can do… It’s just mind-blowing,” he said when presenting the check Tuesday at the Hotel Saskatchewan.
After checking his ticket, McEwen immediately informed his wife, Christie.
“We were trying to figure out if it was real,” McEwen said. “We checked again using the app on his phone.
“We sat there, dumbfounded, for a while. We didn’t know what to do so I immediately signed the ticket and then we called the phone number on the back.
McEwen matched all seven numbers in the draw: 7, 10, 18, 29, 38, 43 and 50. According to the Western Canada Lottery Corporation, the odds of matching all seven Lotto Max numbers are 1 in 33 million per play .
The $70 million prize topped Saskatchewan’s previous record by $10 million.
In August 2016, a woman from Neville won a $60 million Lotto Max prize. Last October, a Saskatoon man won $55 million in the Lotto Max draw, and in January of this year, a Saskatoon man won $50 million in the Lotto Max.
From October 2 to April 1, Saskatchewan residents won $200 million in lottery jackpots.
McEwen and her family cut their trip short and returned to Saskatchewan to claim their prize.
“I can’t even describe it,” McEwen said. “Dreaming of winning and actually winning are two very different feelings. You think you know what it would do, but when it’s in your hands, your mind won’t stop and you can’t even sleep.
He laid out some of the plans he has for his award.
“We’re just going to use it to help the family, to go on trips and we’re going to improve some things,” he said. “It’s stressful – but not bad stress.”
Christie spoke at Tuesday’s press conference and agreed it came as a shock.
“Lack of sleep is one thing…I think we sort of took turns. He doesn’t sleep, so I do,” she said.
For her, it is difficult to determine what they will spend the money on.
“You start thinking about everything. I do not know; you can’t even describe how you feel… What are you doing? she says.
“We (have) a few little things we want to do, but no big plans. We’re pretty lucky anyway, so (we’re going to) do a few things to try and enjoy life – maybe travel a little more and help out our families a little… just sort of play by ear.
Life gets easier for Dale in one big way: he quits his job as a truck driver.
“It’s going to be an early release for that. I’ve been doing this for 28 years, so it’s really time to get out of it,” he said.
At first, Christie thought Dale was just joking when he told her about the ticket, especially since he won the prize on April Fool’s Day.
“It was weird,” she said.