Is Mississauga the Lottery Winner's Capital in Canada?


It looks like there are a lot of small, lucky horseshoes nestled deep in the derrieres of now-wealthy Mississauga residents.

We're only three months into 2016 and three Mississauga residents have already won substantial lottery jackpots. One woman, Zhe Wang, took home an astounding and record-breaking $64 million earlier this month, a sum that OLG called "the largest jackpot ever in the history of Canadian lottery."

Earlier this year, Mississauga grandfather John Henry took home $60 million (the other $60 million in the $120 jackpot went to a woman from Desboro, Ont.). The total jackpot was the largest payout in one day and Henry was fortunate to grab one half of the phenomenal monetary prize.

Henry actually found out about his monumental win on Boxing Day in 2015, but he told CityNews that the holidays made collecting his earnings difficult.  "I had the winning $60 million ticket but all the banks were closed so I couldn't put it into my safety deposit box until the following Tuesday! The darn thing felt like a hot potato," he told the news organization.

He also told CityNews that he didn't come forward until he had his affairs in order two months later, adding that he and his wife had selected some worthy causes -- children's health, children's sports and mental health -- to support.

Last week, Mississauga woman Angela Codjoe won the guaranteed $1 million prize from the March 9 Lotto 6/49 draw.

Codjoe told Lottery News that she, "joked to the store employee that I was going to be millionaire" when she purchased her ticket at a Y.H. Convenience store in Etobicoke. She told the news source that her dream is to open a charity kitchen in Ghana, where her family hails from. She also hopes to plan a trip for her boyfriend and three children.

While winning the lottery sounds like a dream come true -- and for many, it truly is -- it can come at (no pun intended) a price. You can't exactly take a jackpot home quietly, so the winnings will be public knowledge. When people find out that you're suddenly fabulously wealthy, favors might be called in. An old classmate might plead for help sending her brilliant but financially disadvantaged children to university. A relative might need a little help buying a home. An ex whom you once loved despite his or her many egregious flaws might beg for bail money, followed by a little cash for a lawyer.

He or she will pay you back, of course. With interest. Maybe.

If you can find him or her.

The newfound wealth can become a burden, but there are organizations in place to help lottery winners transition from average Janes and Joes to millionaires.

Jeff Hull, a senior financial advisor with the Mississauga-based Manulife Securities Inc., told the Mississauga News that, "you immediately become a target and the sharks start to circle. Suddenly you become a major target for organized crime, criminals, charities and all kinds of people who pop out of the woodwork."

According to The News, Hull and his team have created a Lottery Transition Team made up of experts in investing, psychology, personal protection and more. Hull told the newspaper that lotto winning clients have been victimized by people intentionally colliding with their vehicles and demanding money and have also been harassed by both real and bogus charities haranguing them for donations. He also said they've been targeted by hackers who attempt to extort them and break into their bank accounts. He also mentioned that long-lost friends and relatives tend to reemerge in the wake of a substantial cash influx.

There's also the possibility that a lotto winner can get carried away, treating the sum as infinite and failing to save or take precautions. Within a few short years, it's not terribly uncommon to see a jackpot winner declare bankruptcy.

While coming into money can be, in many ways, a blessing, it can also present unforeseen challenges.

But drawbacks aside, a nice $60 million deposit would be nice, wouldn't it?

Congrats to all the city's winners! Best of luck to you all.

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