Good Karma: Ontario Teen’s Record-Setting Lotto Win To Aid Family, Community

Written By Robyn McNeil on February 10, 2023
thirteen years after donating her saving to haiti earthquake relief, sault ste. marie's Juliette Lamour wins a $48 million 649 gold ball jackpot on her first-ever ticket

Sometimes, good things happen to good people.

By all accounts, that happened when 18-year-old Juliette Lamour’s first-ever lotto purchase made her Canada’s youngest mega-jackpot winner.

The university student, who recently celebrated her birthday, can thank her grandfather for her record-breaking $48 million win. He suggested she mark the milestone by trying her luck on the 649, so the Sault Ste. Marie resident bought a ticket for the Jan. 7 draw and tucked it away.

18-year-old juliette lamour of northern ontario won big the first time she played the lotto
Juliette Lamour of Sault Ste. Marie with her $48 million 649 Gold Ball jackpot prize cheque. Photo credit: OLG

It wasn’t until the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced a local jackpot winner — exciting her coworkers — that Lamour remembered the ticket.

Lamour’s life changed a few minutes later when her boss used the OLG app to check for a win. But while her future looks a little cushier, Lamour isn’t planning a significant shift.

Instead, the lucky teen, who, at 5, donated her savings to the Red Cross, is sticking to her plans.

Despite lucky win, Lamour still dreams of being a doctor

In her only post-win interview (given to the local news podcast, Inside the Village), Lamour said her dream to become a doctor remains. The main difference is tuition fees are no longer a concern for the undergrad biology student.

“My goals are still the same,” she said. “I want to stay in school.”

She also noted some advice from her Dean that stuck with her.

“It’s not the money that defines you; it’s the work you do. So I think that’s what’s keeping me normal. I still have my goals. It [the win] doesn’t change anything.”

That said, Lamour’s current financial situation is remarkably different than before her historic win.

For that reason, she’s thankful for her father, a financial planner.

With his guidance, Lamour is tucking most of the money safely away while they develop a long-term plan. In the meantime, he is making sure she’s protected.

“He really had the plan set,” Lamour said during the podcast.

They were in meetings with lawyers and accountants by Monday morning (the day after the OLG confirmed the prize).

“And I had a will signed by Monday night,” Lamour added. “What 18-year-old has a will?”

Jackpot win not Lamour’s first time in the news

In 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, killing thousands and leaving the country in ruins.

In the aftermath, the local Red Cross set up a table to collect donations at a Soo Greyhounds hockey game. At the time, Lamour and her little sister, Sophie (5 and 2), were determined to help. They showed up at the rink decked out in their Hounds jerseys with a pastel pink piggy bank in tow.

sophie and juliette lamour in a 2010 image published in sootoday
Sophie and Juliette Lamour in a 2010 image. Photo credit: SooToday

Inside, there was exactly $61.38, which the young philanthropists generously donated to the fund. For their efforts, a local news site, SooToday, published a feel-good photo of the two little girls and their soft pink swine.

Lamour won January’s massive 649 Gold Ball jackpot almost thirteen years later.

At OLG’s Feb. 3 cheque presentation, that earlier kindness came up, as did the question of whether her recent win is some kind of karmic reward for youthful generosity.

“I don’t know,” Lamour replied.

“Everyone that’s reached out to us has always been so positive. I just keep hearing: ‘You know, good things happen to good people. Everything happens for a reason.’ I don’t know why this happened, but I’m really just so grateful, and I’m planning to do good things with the winnings.”

Win will have long-term impact on Lamour’s Soo community

One of those things: Lamour plans to attend medical school, then return and practice in her Northern Ontario home.

“I wanted to go to medical school before winning the lottery.,” she said. “I really want to come back to this area as a doctor so that I can give back to my community.”

“Now I can pursue this dream without worrying about grants or loans. 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.”

As for longer-term goals, Lamour aims to make smart investments to make the most of her good fortune.

There’s a lot that we have to think about,” she said.

Family, friends and her community will undoubtedly reap the benefits of Lamour’s generosity, hopefully for a long time.

“We want to make sure we have the money to help support generations to come and the community,” Lamour said.  “And I’m so young. I don’t know what my family is gonna look like down the line. So we want to make sure we were able to support everyone.”

Lamour family summer “bucket list” adventure still to come

Canada’s newest teenage millionaire has at least one short-term “bucket list” item in her sights: Summer adventures with her family.

“Once school is done, my family and I will pick a continent and start exploring,” said Lamour.

“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.”

“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.”

Photo by Shutterstock
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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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