When the Putrus family left their homeland of Iraq and immigrated to Canada, they couldn’t imagine how life-changing this move would turn out to be. A sudden turn of events made the Putrus family CAD$1.5 million (US$1.515 million) richer! The winners took home half of the Canadian lotto jackpot, having split the CAD$3 million with another 1st prize winner. The father’s name, Faiz, means “successful” or “victorious” in Arabic and apparently brought the family luck and fortune, making the Putrus family of four overnight millionaires after purchasing the ticket at a gas station on Tecumseh Road West and Northway Avenue, in Windsor, Canada.
The Putrus family won the Canada Lotto 649’s 65th draw of the year with the winning numbers: 1, 6, 12, 19, 24, 31 and bonus number 5. First prize winners guessed all 6 numbers correctly, secondary prize winners in the 2nd and 6th prize categories guessed the bonus number in addition to their winning numbers in order to earn their wins. Ten lucky 2nd prize winners each took home CAD$20,368, and 195 3 rd prize winners pocketed CAD$863.
The family left their hometown of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, 3 years ago when they travelled to Syria to part from an aunt who was leaving to claim refugee status in Canada. While they were in Syria, the Putrus family received news that their home had been burned to the ground during the chaotic and violent times in Baghdad. Losing everything, they then decided not to return and instead to follow their aunt to Canada. “We didn’t stop our life,” Faraj (the 17-year-old son) said. “We kept on going until we came to Canada as refugees.” Faraj said the family likes Windsor and plans to stay here.
After realizing they had won the lottery and understanding their change of luck, Faraj says “Everyone was shocked in the family, we couldn’t even believe it, but it happened.” The following Saturday after the draw, the family drove to Toronto to a family member and waited there until Monday morning when the Ontario Lottery and Gaming prize office opened. Faiz, the father, showed up at 9 am, right when the doors opened! Faiz plans to continue as usual, working as a granite designer, but in the future plans to start his own small business. The family also plans to buy a new, larger house and possibly rent out the modest bungalow they currently own.
The Canadian lottery, started 30 years ago in June 1982, holds the record for the largest jackpot win in Canada won on October 26th, 2005, of CAD$54.3 million (US$53.7 million). The biweekly draws occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 21:30 local Canadian time and offer tax-free cash prizes with winning odds starting at 1:81. Players interested in playing the Canada Lotto 649 select six numbers from a guess range of 1-49. The lottery offers one bonus ball, intended for secondary prizes only. Lottery players can try their luck towards winning the next $7 million jackpot and purchase lotto online tickets for the Canada Lotto 649.