A group of employees at an Ottawa manufacturing plant say they won the $7-million Lotto 6/49 prize Wednesday, the same day their company announced massive layoffs.

Eighteen employees at SMART technologies — including 10 who got layoff notices on Wednesday — were part of the group of winners, according to Colin Willard, one of the ticket holders.

Willard, who worked at SMART for seven years, was balancing phones on each ear Thursday as news broke about the group's winning ticket.

He had only returned to work last week after a bad back kept him away for six months, and said the layoff notice shocked him. 

It was Thursday morning in the company parking lot where he was the first to discover the win.


Tony Mather, left, and Colin Willard hold their ticket from Wednesday's Lotto 6/49 draw. ((Laurie Fagan/CBC))

"I started to shake, vibrate in my seat, and then I had to get out and tell some of the people that were in, and no one believed me," said Willard.

Friend and co-worker Tony Mather joined him for a celebratory drink of scotch Thursday.

The men said they were excited, but realistic about the lottery earnings and where the money will go.

"We all know that $400,000 doesn't make you rich. That comfort zone for the rest of your life is the nice story," said the 50-year-old Mather.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation confirmed Thursday that the winning ticket in the previous night's lottery was shared by a group of people from Ottawa. 


SMART Technologies said the first phase of layoffs at the plant on Palladium Drive would begin in September. ((Google Street View))

A spokesperson with the lottery corporation said the winners will have to go through a verification process when they come to claim the ticket.

Willard said the group will travel to Toronto Friday to confirm their win.

SMART technologies said Wednesday it was laying off 200 employees at the assembly plant on Palladium Drive. The assembly plant employs about 300 people.

The company, which has its headquarters in Calgary, said it was shifting its manufacturing to Mexico.