'I'm off planet right now': B.C. winner of $35M Lotto Max prize comes forward
B.C.'s latest lottery millionaire hasn't decided how to spend his massive $35 million fortune yet – in his words, he still needs to come back down to Earth first.
Kamloops resident Gary Hill was one of two Lotto Max players to match all seven numbers in the June 22 draw, netting him half of the $70 million jackpot.
After taking a couple weeks to get his ducks in a row, the 61-year-old came forward Wednesday to claim his oversized cheque from the B.C. Lottery Corporation. The lucky winner said he's going to spend the next month collecting himself before he decides how to use the cash.
"I'm off planet right now. I'm not even sitting here. My spirit is history, right? It's above the planet and it's long gone," said Hill, a semi-retired truck driver of 30 years.
The winning ticket was purchased at McGoo's Smokes N Stuff at Northills Shopping Centre. Hill said he had a good feeling about his odds thanks to a pair of unusual dragonfly encounters.
The first one happened the day before the draw, on June 21, when he was sitting on his mom's deck.
"A dragonfly shows up and it's sitting on a branch staring at me, and he's got four wings and he's flapping and I'm like, I haven't seen dragonfly – ever," Hill said.
When he saw another one of the insects – or possibly the same one – the next day, he felt it couldn’t be a mere coincidence.
"I had to stop and say, 'Hey dragonfly, you're back. Why are you here?'" Hill said.
He learned about his big win after his mother heard one of the tickets was sold in Kamloops and convinced him to check his numbers – 7, 11, 22, 28, 33, 44 and 49 – which he'd been playing consistently for two years.
"I actually swore," Hill said. "Then my legs went like spaghetti and I grabbed the wall… I looked at the ticket and looked at the numbers and I fell on the bed and I actually cried for 15 minutes."
He eventually walked out, wiped his eyes and shared the news with his mother. From there, he kept the win a family secret, telling only his sister, brother-in-law and nieces and nephews.
Eventually, Hill said he's going to do some travelling with his fortune, but not for another year at least.
"I'm just going to fly around and cruise, live," he said.
But as far as living arrangements go, Hill has no plans to leave his community: "Oh yeah, Kamloops is my home," he said.
The other winner from the June 22 draw, who lives in Ontario, has yet to come forward. According to the B.C. Lottery Corporation, the odds of matching all seven numbers in a Lotto Max draw without using the bonus – as required to win the jackpot – are approximately one in 33,294,800.