Nanaimo resident, Bill Laharty, above, holds a cheque for $21 million. Laharty hit the jackpot after purchasing a Lotto 6/49 ticket for the Aug. 13 draw.

Nanaimo resident, Bill Laharty, above, holds a cheque for $21 million. Laharty hit the jackpot after purchasing a Lotto 6/49 ticket for the Aug. 13 draw.

Nanaimo resident hits the jackpot

NANAIMO – Bill Laharty, 52, from the Harbour City has won the largest online lottery jackpot in Canadian history.

A recently retired Nanaimo man has hit the jackpot.Bill Laharty, 52, won $21 million after purchasing the winning Lotto 6/49 ticket for Saturday’s online draw through the B.C. Lottery Corporation’s Play Now website.

Laharty, who claimed the winnings earlier today, told the News Bulletin he is going to use some of the money to help out his family and friends. He also plans to travel.

“I’m thinking Bora Bora,” he said. “That’s a good start.”

Angela Koulyras, BCLC spokeswoman, said Laharty is the winner of the biggest online lottery jackpot in Canadian history. In 2010, a man from Nanaimo was the winner of $7 million, in what was then the biggest online win in Canada.

“I can confirm that,” Koulyras said.

Laharty, who has lived in Nanaimo for more than 20 years, said he found out he won a “prize” on Sunday after checking his e-mail, which informed him that he had won a cash prize. “You get those if you win a dollar or a multimillion-dollar prize,” he said. “So I didn’t pay much attention to it.”A few hours later, Laharty checked his PlayNow account and realized just how much he had actually won.

“I went and had a shower and breakfast and checked my account and it had $21 million in it,” he said.  Laharty, who isn’t married and has no children, has been playing the lottery on and off for decades, but once a week for the last five years. He said the feeling of winning millions of dollars is surreal. “It feels like you’re dreaming and you keep wondering when you are going to wake up,” he said. “It’s a really good feeling because you can help out your family and friends.”

Nanaimo News Bulletin