Luck strikes twice in Sturgeon Falls


This summer is turning out to be a lucky one for some Sturgeon Falls residents, as two local men have won big jackpots playing Lotto Max.

On July 21, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) announced that Joseph Penasse of Sturgeon Falls had won a Maxmillions prize worth $500,000 in the June 6 Lotto Max draw. If that wasn’t enough, he also won $2, on his Encore selection – maybe for his next lucky ticket!

Penasse, a 64-year-old father of two, said he is a longtime lottery player, buying tickets weekly. He purchased his winning ticket at Quick Pick Variety in Sturgeon Falls. The retiree checked his ticket at the store and discovered he’d won big. “I said, ‘Are you serious?’ and had to check my ticket a few times,” he recounted, while at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto to pick up his windfall. “A couple patrons in the store saw me win and congratulated me. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t think straight for hours!”

Penasse shared the news with his close friends and family, but some thought he was pulling their leg. “My brother didn’t believe me at first. He called me a week later and asked if I was serious!”

With this win, Penasse said he wants to help his kids, but he hasn’t made any major plans yet, taking his time to consider what to do with the sum. “It’s going to be a game changer,” he acknowledged. “Winning feels wonderful – I still can’t believe it!”

Just as excited is Trevor Van Dusen of Sturgeon Falls, whose last six of seven Encore numbers matched those in the July 7 Lotto Max draw, earning him $100,000.

Van Dusen, a 37-year-old who works in mining services, said he started playing the lottery when he was 18 years old, and he particularly enjoys Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49. “I always say yes to Encore and I’m especially glad I did this time,” he expressed. “That extra dollar really paid off!”

He purchased the winning ticket at Victory Convenience on Falconbridge Road in Garson, then left it at home with his wife. Days later, the father of three got in his truck after work and decided to check his phone. “My wife sent me a message saying, ‘We have to talk.’ She had checked my ticket and discovered I won!” Van Dusen gave his wife a call and she sent him a photo of the ticket. “I said, ‘You better not be playing a joke on me.’ She was more excited than I was!”

With his windfall, he said he will manage his finances and plan a family vacation. “Winning is pretty exciting; it feels great to get ahead in life,” he concluded.

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