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Indo-Canadian couple wins $7.35mn

Jose and Antoneta Dias plan to share the multi-million dollar lottery with their relatives in India.

india Updated: Dec 24, 2005 13:19 IST

An Indo-Canadian couple in Toronto, Canada's largest city, has won a multi-million dollar lottery and plans to share the largesse with relatives in India.

Jose and Antoneta Dias won the lottery in October but kept it a secret for over two months till they had decided what to do with their winnings.

The secret became public December 20 when the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLGC) announced Jose, 51, and Antoneta, 41, had won an October 8 draw making them $7.35 million richer.

"I was so excited," Dias told OLGC's prize office, claiming the jackpot money. "I always said that if we won we wouldn't be the only happy people... I plan to make a lot of people happy with this," said the self-employed consultant who lives in the Greater Toronto Area, neighbouring Toronto.

Antoneta added that they chose not to come forward in October because "we just needed time to think and see what our next step was going to be."

The couple said they want to use some of the winnings to help less fortunate relatives in India improve their lives through education.

They have also started planning some home renovations, replacing their four-year-old van with a brand new vehicle and are planning a trip to Europe along with their 18-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.

"We love to travel so we will likely do more of that," said Antoneta. Elango Vythialingam who runs Nacchi Dollar Dome - the store where the couple bought the ticket - is happy to see his own community members strike gold.

His store will also receive $1,300 for selling the prize ticket, Melody Wilhelm, a supervisor at OLGC's Toronto prize office told IANS.

The coupled has been playing the same numbers, which consist of family birthdays, for approximately three years. "We always found these to be very lucky," laughed Dias.

"I always told him that we wouldn't win playing the same numbers, I guess I was very wrong," added Antoneta, a coordinator in the equipment supply industry.

She said she would continue working for about two months till her company could find a replacement.

First Published: Dec 24, 2005 13:19 IST