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First-year university student from northern Ontario wins $48M in lottery, making history

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Canada's newest millionaire has achieved a lot of firsts with a recent lottery win.

Juliette Lamour is an 18-year-old first-year student at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., who won the $48 million jackpot in a Lotto 6/49 Gold Ball draw last month.

Juliette Lamour of Sault Ste. Marie collects her $48million lottery win. Feb. 3/23 (Mike McDonald/CTV Northern Ontario)

Not only is she the youngest person in Canada to ever win a jackpot of this size, but she also won on her very first lottery purchase, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation said.

"While there have been other 18-year-old lottery winners across Canada in recent years, no one has won as much as Juliette," OLG said in a news release.

Wearing a black suit and facemask, the Garden River First Nation member was presented with her big cheque by officials at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation at the Sault Ste. Marie headquarters in front of a group of reporters Friday morning.

Lottery winner Juliette L. of Sault Ste. Marie (right) stands next to her $48 million cheque presented by OLG. Feb. 3/23 (Chelsea Papineau/CTV Northern Ontario)

Having just turned 18, Lamour said her grandfather had suggested she buy the ticket 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," she said.

"I still can't believe I hit the Gold Ball jackpot on my very first lottery ticket."

Hers was the single winning ticket in the Jan. 7 draw and was purchased at Circle K on McNabb Street in Sault Ste. Marie.

DISCOVERING THE WIN

Lamour said she had forgotten about the ticket until hearing while at work the winning one was purchased in Sault Ste. Marie.

They found out she was the big winner when her co-worker scanned her ticket with his app.

"My colleague fell to his knees in disbelief," she said.

"He was yelling, in fact, everyone was yelling, that I won $48 million! I didn't understand what was going on at first. I couldn't process the news. We kind of made a scene in the store that day."

She said she called home with shock, excitement and happy tears to tell her parents the news.

"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."

WHAT IS NEXT?

Lamour told the crowd that she plans to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor and practising medicine 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," she said.

"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."

Her father is a financial planner, so she said most of her winnings will be invested.

Focusing on finishing her studies this year is a priority, Lamour said, but she will be planning some adventures for this summer.

"Once school is done, my family and I will pick a continent and start exploring. 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," she said.

WORDS OF WISDOM

Upon hearing the news of her win, she said she received some words of wisdom from loved ones that she will never forget.

"Money doesn’t define you, it’s the work you do that will define you,’" she said she was told.

"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."

CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca streamed the news conference live and the video will be uploaded shortly for viewing.

OTHER BIG WINNERS FROM NORTHERN ONTARIO

The $48 million prize is the latest huge win for someone from northern Ontario.

In March 2021, a couple from Noelville -- near Greater Sudbury -- won $70 million playing Lotto Max.

In September 2020, it was announced a retired couple from Hearst won a $65-million Lotto Max jackpot.

James Wickman and his wife Eerikka drove almost 10 hours to Toronto in a rented coach bus with around two dozen family members to pick up their prize.

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