31 Newfoundlanders split $60M lotto jackpot — biggest ever in Atlantic Canada

The winners are from the Boilermakers Local 203.

Winners include husband and wife, father and son and identical twin brothers

These are just some of the winners of the $60-million jackpot, which was presented Wednesday. (Anthony Germain/CBC)

A group of 31 Come By Chance co-workers are splitting Newfoundland and Labrador's biggest Atlantic Lottery Corp. jackpot.

The winners — all members of the Boilermakers Local 203 trade union, working at the Come By Chance refinery — received their cheque from Atlantic Lottery Corporation on Wednesday afternoon during an event at the Convention Centre in St. John's.

The winning ticket-holders include a husband and wife, father and son and identical twin brothers.

The 31 winners are all co-workers at the Come By Chance refinery. (Atlantic Lottery Corporation)

Five of them retired immediately after learning of their prize, which will be about $1.9 million each, according to a news release from the ALC.

The list of retirees includes Eugene Lewis, who was one of the first to learn of the win when he checked the ticket numbers at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 24.

"I retired at 5:15 Saturday morning when [our shop steward] called me," he said in the ALC news release.

Eugene Lewis gives an interview as a child throws confetti behind him. He says the lottery win seems surreal. "When I woke up that morning, I just thought it was a joke," he said. "I couldn't really believe it." (CBC)

"It means a happy ending to my life, and then my kids will be looked after, and have a little few things that I could never afford to have." 

Twenty-six are going to return to work at the refinery, including Lee Hickey.

"Before we had the money and stuff, each day you get up to go to work with the team we had in there, you enjoy going to work," he said. "So now it just makes the enjoyment a little bit more"

Of the 31 winners, eight live in Avondale, and three live on the same street.

It's tough to interview 31 separate lottery winners, but CBC's Anthony Germain got creative, and was able to get a few questions in. 1:28

It's not the first time that Southern Harbour's Dustin Flight found himself on the receiving end of a lottery draw.

He told the crowd on Wednesday that he won $4,500 in a 50/50 draw held last year among employees of the Come By Chance refinery, which supported the family of a child diagnosed with cancer.

Dustin Flight fights back tears after answering questions about a fundraiser held in his workplace in support of young boy undergoing treatment for cancer. (CBC)

Instead of keeping the prize, he donated it all.

"She had to move across the island, and live in the Ronald McDonald house for her son to have a chance to survive," he explained. "I was getting up to work the next day, so I still had money coming in. She needed it worse than I did, so I gave it all back."

'The mood is over the top'

People from the ALC's Moncton office were on hand Wednesday, as well as CEO Brent Scrimshaw.

Shute said there had been a flurry of activity behind the scenes that started "bright and early Saturday morning."

Many of the winners are from Avondale and nearby communities. (Twitter/Fred Hutton)

Shute said while it's been a busy few days, the spirits of the winners — and ALC employees — were high ahead of the Wednesday afternoon event. 

It's phenomenal. It's really fantastic.- Tracy Shute

"It is phenomenal. It's really fantastic … the mood is over the top."

Sherry Moore Hickey says the lottery win — which both her and her husband get their own shares in — will bring challenges too.

"I think all the attention and people calling, you know, just social media and stuff," she said.

"I've never been a millionaire before, what do you do?

The Atlantic Lotto Corporation says the odds of winning a Lotto Max jackpot are about one in 28.6 million.

There is one more potential winner in the Come By Chance group. The ALC said it is withholding a share of the $60-million jackpot "until a resolution is reached on a potential additional group member."

With files from Peter Cowan and Anthony Germain