London

Steve Hillier wins $1M and a council seat in 2-day span

It's been quite a week for Londoner Steve Hillier who won a $1-million LottoMax jackpot. Then, two days later, he became a first-time councillor by winning a seat in the municipal election.

London man makes final mortgage payment while on the phone with CBC News

Steve Hillier won $1 million in the Oct. 19 LottoMax draw. He found out about the win on Sunday, then two days later won a seat on city council. (OLG)

Think you had a good week? 

Better check it against Steve Hillier's. 

On Sunday night, the London, Ont., businessman found out he'd won $1 million in the Oct. 19 LottoMax draw. 

Then, on Tuesday, he became a first-time city councillor after winning a seat in Ward 14 in the municipal election. 

When CBC London caught up with him to confirm the news by phone, the father of two was on his computer, making a final mortgage payment on his house. 

"You hear that? I'm actually paying off my house as we speak," he said. 

Winning ticket was a free play

Hillier, who's played the same lottery numbers for 30 years, got the ticket for the Oct. 19 LottoMax draw on a free play.  

He got the ticket a few days earlier while buying gas at the Petro-Canada station located on Wellington Street at Exeter Road. Hillier stopped there while dropping his son off at a local Wendy's restaurant. 

"I checked my ticket and I'd won a bunch of free plays, so I said 'OK, I'll get just a free play,'" he said. 

Busy running his campaign, Hillier didn't give much thought to the ticket for the next few days. 

Then on Sunday night, a day before Londoners voted in the first ranked-ballot election in modern Canadian history, Hillier downloaded the ticket-checking app onto his phone from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's website. 

"I checked the first three plays and nothing," he said. "Then the last one went 'Ding, ding ding, ding, you've won a million dollars.'"

Thinking it was a mistake, Hillier turned off his phone and re-downloaded the app. 

"It did it again," he said. 

Won on a free play

Hillier and his family then drove to a variety store in Byron, a community in west London, to have the win officially confirmed at a lotto retailer machine. He wanted to go outside his home neighbourhood, where "everybody knows what I look like." 

"They checked the ticket and numbers and yeah, we'd won a million dollars," said Hillier. 

It's been an interesting few days. We have not slept in four days, we're so tired.- Steve Hillier, LottoMax winner

Knowing he was a million-dollar man, Hillier sat tight in London for two days while the election results played out after voters cast their ballots on Monday. 

The race for Hillier's ward took a second day of counting. So he kept quiet, waiting for one win while the other wasn't confirmed until Tuesday morning.

"It was surreal," he said. 

Hillier says he will take his council seat. But the win will mean he'll be a full-time councillor, dropping his current job as an operations manager at a restaurant equipment company. Most London councillors are part-timers with day jobs. 

He will also continue to mentor vendors at London's farmer's market. 

"It makes me feel good and I love to help," he said. 

He also plans to cover post-secondary tuition for his children.

In the meantime, he'll recover from the excitement and get ready for his job on council, starting in December.

"It's literally been insane," he said. "It's been an interesting few days. We have not slept in four days, we're so tired."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now