'Blessing': Edmonton-area man wins $5M on lotto scratch ticket while killing time in Fort McMurray hotel room

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Donald Johannesson was away from his Edmonton-area family on business in Fort McMurray when he picked up a $50 MEGA scratch ticket and went back to his hotel room.

Inside the Best Western Plus Sawridge Suites room, he scratched his way to a $5-million lottery jackpot.

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“I had dinner at the hotel and bought a couple tickets to scratch once I got to my room,” said Johannesson in a Tuesday news release from Western Canada Lottery Corporation.

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“When I saw $5 million on the ticket, I immediately thought I was seeing things.”

After scratching the win, he used the Lotto Spot confirmation app multiple times to help convince himself of his new fortune.

“I must have scanned the ticket more than 10 times right there in my room,” he said. “It felt insane to believe that I won that much, but I did — it still feels insane.”

Johannesson, the first Albertan to win the top prize on the $50 MEGA national scratch ticket released earlier this year, made his purchase at the same location he learned of his win, the Best Western at 410 TaigaNova Cres.

He and his family have no grand plans for the winnings, just some quick house improvements for now.

“We’re going to replace the shingles and hot water tank,” he said. “We don’t love the carpet upstairs, so we’ll put new flooring up there, too.”

The greatest relief, he adds, is knowing his daughter will have fewer worries.

“Most importantly, our daughter will never have to worry about paying for school,” he said.

“It’s surreal knowing that everything is taken care of, financially.

“It’s such a blessing.”

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