Saanich family who won $25-million prize plans to replace couch, take trip to Hawaii

Saanich resident Morgan Harker and his family will finally get their dream vacation to Hawaii and replace a ratty old couch after collecting the $25-million Lotto Max prize Friday in Vancouver.

On Nov. 2, Harker’s wife saw the news that the winning ticket for the draw the night before was purchased in Victoria. She checked the numbers online and saw they had the winning ticket.

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Harker, who was out at the time, received a brief text that read: “So, we won $25 million.” He texted his wife back asking if she was for real. “She texted back saying, ‘No really,’ and I knew it was real. It wouldn’t be something she’d prank me about.”

Harker said he was surprisingly calm.

“I thought, ‘OK, oh my gosh, $25 million.’ My first thought was to get home.”

Harker said he regularly plays the lottery when the jackpot is big.

The 40-year-old, a public servant with the federal government, said he has no immediate plans to quit his job. He wants to keep his family life private, and declined to give information about his wife and children.

Harker’s plans for the money? “Nothing drastic. We’re not going to buy a hot-air balloon or anything like that. We’ll pay off the mortgage, and I’ve never been to Hawaii.”

The family will also finally replace their couch, which has a big ugly rip in it.

Harker said he’s a pragmatic person and has long-term plans for the money.

“I don’t want to be one of those people you see out of the United States where it ruins people’s lives,” he said.

“Obviously, it’s life-changing and I like my life, so as much as possible I want to keep my life the same. But it’s going to afford a lot of opportunity and the gift of time as well.”

Harker said staff from the B.C. Lottery Corp. guided him through the “overwhelming” process of collecting the prize in Vancouver and going through the rounds of media interviews.

“They’ve been fantastic,” he said. “They are treating me like a million bucks.”

The Harkers bought the winning ticket from the lottery ticket centre in Victoria’s Bay Centre.

The total jackpot was worth $50 million. A group from the Yukon won the other $25 million.

Other recent big-dollar winners from the capital region include 73-year-old grandfather Eufracio Partosa, who won $2,000,985 on a ticket he purchased in Esquimalt for the Sept. 11 BC/49 draw. A year before that, two best friends in Victoria shared a $2,004,500 jackpot on the Sept. 8, 2012, draw for BC/49.

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