'I was in the smallest room in the house': $16 million lottery winner gets Canada's first pandemic jackpot

A 62-year-old man in B.C. found out about a $16 million lottery win in one of the most humble ways possible, while he was in the washroom.

“I was in the smallest room in the house,” winner Tibor Tusnady said at the first virtual celebration for a lottery jackpot winner, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last week. “You just can’t believe it. It’s a shock.”

The winner was presented with the cheque for his Lotto 6/49 win, from the Apr. 15 draw, with a hockey stick to follow physical distancing regulations.

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When Tusnady was in the washroom and realized he won, he went back to watching TV with his spouse and didn’t say anything. He couldn’t sleep all night but the next afternoon, he held her hand and told her the good news.

“We keep our finances separate but our love strong,” he said. “I want to continue things the way they are now.”

The couple then had video meetings with relatives across Canada and in Hungary to tell them the good news, followed by a champagne toast.

Tusnady was a pharmacist for 38 years and “never called in sick.” He received a prostate diagnosis in June 2018 that required him to stop working but since then, his health has been OK.

In terms of plans for the future, a lot of things depend on the public health measures in place and when they will be lifted. In the immediate future, Tusnady plans to help family members. He also said he is interested in travelling within B.C. and the Northwest Territories.

“When we are allowed to travel overseas, I’d like to go to Argentina and Uruguay,” he said. “When we travel next time, it’s always first-class.”

Tusnady had been playing the lottery 10 to 15 year ago, and then he stopped for many years before playing again.

“I think I’ll take a little rest now, having won the biggest prize,” he said. “We’ll see after that.”

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