Ontario woman, 18, wins $48M lottery after buying first ticket ‘for fun’

By Lucas Casaletto

An 18-year-old woman from Sault Ste. Marie is the youngest person in Canadian lottery history to win a jackpot of $48 million through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) — and she did it on her first-ever lottery ticket.

The OLG said university student Juliette Lamour won the $48 million Lotto 6/49 Gold Ball jackpot from the Jan. 7, 2023 draw, noting that while other 18-year-olds have won the lottery before, it’s never been an amount this high.

Lamour said she was encouraged by family members to buy her first lottery ticket “just for fun.”

“When I went to the store, I wasn’t sure what to ask for because I had never bought a ticket before, so I called my dad, who told me to buy a Lotto 6/49 Quick Pick,” Lamour told the OLG. “I still can’t believe I hit the Gold Ball jackpot on my very first lottery ticket!”

The 18-year-old admitted that she completely forgot about the ticket after she purchased it until news broke that the winning ticket was bought in her hometown. She was at work when one of her colleagues offered to check her ticket through the mobile app. That’s when the jingle started to play, and “Big Winner” flashed across the screen.

“My colleague fell to his knees in disbelief. He was yelling; in fact, everyone was yelling that I won $48 million,” Lamour explained.

“I didn’t understand what was going on at first. I couldn’t process this news. We kind of made a scene in the store that day!”

18-year-old lottery winner focused on studies, will travel this summer

She was excited to tell her parents the great news, and her boss let Lamour leave work early to do so.

“Thankfully, my dad was able to piece together that I won the lottery jackpot. I knew I couldn’t focus on work, and my boss told me I could go home, but my mom wanted me to stay and finish my shift,” Lamour said.

“My colleagues called out, ‘come and get her,’ and my parents eventually came to pick me up.”

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As for what Lamour will do with the $48 million, she’s at peace because her dad is a financial planner who noted that a majority of the money will be put away for now in “carefully chosen investments.” Lamour told the OLG she remains committed to her dream of becoming a doctor and coming back to practice in Northern Ontario.

“I wanted to go to medical school before winning the lottery. Now I can pursue this dream without worrying about grants or loans,” Lamour explained.

“As a member of the Garden River First Nation community, I was eligible for educational assistance programs, but I no longer need those resources, which means someone else in the community can benefit from that funding. I really want to come back to this area as a doctor, so I can give back to my community.”

“Money doesn’t define you”

The 18-year-old Lamour said she wants to continue to focus on her education but will undoubtedly put some of the winnings aside to travel, perhaps as early as this summer.

“Once school is done, my family and I will pick a continent and start exploring,” she said. “I am not a ‘sit on the beach’ type of person. I want to experience different countries, study their history and culture, try their food, and listen to their language.”

Thankfully Lamour says she has wise people in her corner that gave her some tremendous advice.

“Money doesn’t define you; it’s the work you do that will define you,” she said.

“While I am so excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, I feel comforted knowing I am surrounded by the grounding love of my family. They will be with me on every step of this incredible journey.”

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