"No fooling!" - First-time LOTTO MAX ticket buyer from Kanata picks up her $48 million cheque on April Fools' Day

OLG's Senior Vice President of Lottery Greg McKenzie looks on as husband Liam McGee and lottery winner Tina Ferrone of Kanata celebrate with a kiss after Tina collected her cheque for $48,000,020 at the OLG Prize Centre Tuesday. Tina won the March 28, 2014 LOTTO MAX jackpot. (CNW Group/OLG Winners)

TORONTO, April 1, 2014 /CNW/ - It's no joke, but rather a dream come true for Tina Ferrone of Kanata who picked up her $48,000,020 cheque this afternoon at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto. She is Ontario's latest multi-millionaire following her jackpot win in the March 28, 2014 LOTTO MAX draw. She also won $20 for matching four numbers on another line.

"It feels great to have the cheque in my hands," said Tina, a 42 year old events coordinator. "I'm overwhelmed but so excited about the future."

"It is always great when OLG gets to celebrate with our lottery players and give away millions of dollars!" said Greg McKenzie, OLG's Senior Vice President of Lottery, as he presented Tina with her cheque for $48,000,020.

Tina's husband of close to four years, Liam McGee, also 42, joined his wife on their trip to Toronto. "He's been at my side through the whole process," shared Tina. "Actually, when we walked away from the convenience store, hand in hand, after validating the ticket, the first thing he said was, 'Does this mean I can get a new truck?'"

Tina purchased the ticket on a whim during her lunch hour on the Friday of the draw. "I saw a commercial that the jackpot was quite big so I thought, why not? It was actually my first time ever purchasing a LOTTO MAX ticket."

On the Saturday morning following the draw, Tina heard on the radio that the winning ticket was sold in Ottawa. "I told Liam to remind me to check my ticket but I never thought that I had the jackpot winning ticket!"

Later that afternoon, Tina walked to her local drugstore to run some errands and decided to check her ticket on the self-checker while she was there. "I saw a number of zeros and thought that I won $48,000 but didn't really believe it so I checked it several more times to be sure."

Once accepting that she won a big amount, Tina borrowed a pen to sign her ticket and called her husband to join her at the store, "I told him, 'Come quickly! I won a lot of money!" But Tina didn't find out that she had the $48 million ticket until she validated it with the retailer. At that point, Liam had to take over communication with the OLG Support Centre as Tina was "in such shock, crying and overwhelmed!"

Once returning home, Tina and Liam took turns calling their immediate family to share the good news. Although Liam's mother was coming over to take care of one of their three children so that the couple could go out and see a local band, Tina and Liam decided to stay in and celebrate with family.

"I didn't want to be tempted to spill the news to our friends just yet," said Liam.

Tina says that this windfall comes at the right time. "We've been waiting for a break," shared Tina. "Liam has been off work for two years while battling cancer. He's in remission now and we're excited for the good times to begin!"

While the couple plans to pay off some debts, invest in their children's education and share with family, they have some big dreams too.

"I'm also a yoga teacher and I've always wanted to open up my own yoga and wellness studio. Over the last couple years, I've created a vision board, decided on a name and had the architectural plans in my head. This win will let my dream become a reality," said Tina.

Besides a new truck, Liam has plans for a gourmet kitchen in a new and bigger house, "I love to cook. A new big grill would be great too!" Their dream house would also have a pool and big yard for their two dogs.

As for a little self-indulgence, Tina plans to buy herself a designer purse. "I've been coveting this particular purse for a while now. I even have a picture of it in my cell phone!" she laughed.

The couple also plans to see the world. Italy and Ireland are two of the first stops on their lists so they can learn about their background and roots.

The winning ticket was purchased at Your Independent Grocer on Riverside Drive in Ottawa.

Since its launch in September 2009, Ontario LOTTO MAX players have won over $2 billion in prizes, including 33 jackpot wins and 204 winning MAXMILLIONS tickets from all across the province.

Friday's LOTTO MAX jackpot is an estimated $10 million.

OLG is a provincial agency responsible for province-wide lottery games and gaming facilities. Since 1975, OLG has provided nearly $38 billion to the Province and the people of Ontario. OLG's annual payments to the Province have helped support health care; education, research, prevention and treatment of problem gambling; amateur sport through the Quest for Gold program; and local and provincial charities.

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SOURCE OLG Winners

Image with caption: "OLG's Senior Vice President of Lottery Greg McKenzie looks on as husband Liam McGee and lottery winner Tina Ferrone of Kanata celebrate with a kiss after Tina collected her cheque for $48,000,020 at the OLG Prize Centre Tuesday. Tina won the March 28, 2014 LOTTO MAX jackpot. (CNW Group/OLG Winners)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140401_C8204_PHOTO_EN_38740.jpg

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