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July 19, 2021

Remembering Violet Large, the lotto winner that gave away $11.2M

In my time here at MSN, almost two and a half years now, I’ve had a chance to research some great stories.

And no tale has been more memorable than that of Allen and Violet Large, the elderly Nova Scotia couple I wrote about two months ago in a piece entitled, “Real-life Robin Hoods.”

The pair had not robbed the rich, but give they did. After winning $11.2 million in a Lotto 649 draw last July, they decided to give away 98 per cent of their jackpot.

Last year, the story received heaps of international attention. Yesterday, Violet Large, 79-years-young, passed away after losing her fight with ovarian cancer.

We don’t often participate in the business of obituaries in this space, but we also don’t often come across Canadians like Violet Large.

Her legend, of course, has already become a Canuck fairy tale. After hitting the lottery jackpot with her husband of 37 years, Violet and Allen, who had saved like honourable Nova Scotians their entire adult lives, shone a light on Canada entirely contrary to the one that broadcast our nation's name to the world in the streets of Vancouver following the Stanley Cup Finals. 

“Big hearts. Wonderful people. God bless them,” wrote a commenter on the story as it was told in the U.K.’s Daily Mail. Even readers across the pond couldn’t resist gushing over the smiling couple, who decided to keep just a sliver of their winnings for, in their words, a “rainy day.”

Said Violet at the time, “What you’ve never had, you never miss.”

The Large’s payout went to family, local churches, fire departments and the Red Cross near their tiny hometown of Lower Truro, N.S., where Violet will be mourned in a private funeral today.

Of all the media coverage afforded the Larges last year, one photo stands out of the pair, shown here in thumbnail form (click here for an enlarged version). A lot of fortune goes into winning an $11.2 million lottery, certainly, but check out that pic. Look in their eyes: to have that kind of love and adulation, through 37 years and a gruelling, if fated, struggle with cancer?

We should be so lucky.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Photo courtesy Michael Gorman/QMI Agency



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...