Residential school survivor is Canada's newest millionaire

Apr 12 2023, 6:06 pm

Like many lotto winners, Canada’s newest millionaire was excited to share her big win with her family. But at first, they thought that it was a prank.

Thelma Florence of Hope, BC, won the Guaranteed Prize of $1 million from the Lotto 6/49 draw held on April 1, 2023.

Florence shared that her hometown was abuzz with the news of a local winner on the night of the draw. When she checked her winning ticket on the BCLC Lotto! App the following morning, she was left in shock.

“I thought, ‘Is this real? Me? Really?'”’ Florence said. “I sent a screenshot of the app into the family group chat and everyone wondered if it was a late April Fools’ Day joke.”

Thelma Florence

Thelma Florence/BCLC

The winning ticket bought at Bee’s Food Market in Hope was no April Fools’ Day Trick. Florence added that she is “happy and excited” for her and her family and plans to purchase a new car in her favourite colour, green. She also looks forward to helping her grandchildren into new vehicles as well.

Florence is a member of the Chawathil First Nation and a Survivor of residential school at St. Mary’s Mission and Residential School. She regularly visits schools in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley to speak about her experiences.

Florence said she will continue to share her story with young people in the region to promote awareness about the residential school system, emphasizing the significance of this truth-telling.

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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