Five Ottawa-area friends were presented with a $60-million cheque Thursday after winning the Lotto Max jackpot.

“It just hit me now, about 15, 20 minutes ago at most,” an emotional Stephane Dionne said from the OLG prize centre in Toronto.

In addition to Dionne of Embrun, Ont., the other four winners are Bryan Redman of Ottawa, Christopher Beazley of Carleton Place, Ont., and Gilles Dionne and Norman MacDonald of Gatineau, Que.

The five men, all IT professionals who used to work together, are all married with nine children between them. Together, they have been purchasing lottery tickets for about a decade.

“I always said that I believed we would win,” Gilles Dionne said from the OLG prize centre. “But I didn’t believe we would win $60 million!”

Their ticket was purchased by Redman in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans. The winning numbers were announced on Friday, July 13.

“I freaked out,” Redman recalled. “I went to the local gas station and I checked (the ticket) on the little ticker. I was the only one in there, scanned it, it said ‘Big winner, $60 million,’ I got out of there, ran out of there, got into the car, locked the doors, started calling these guys. Nobody answered!”

Redman finally got through to Gilles Dionne, who was sleeping at the time.

“You’re kidding me,” he remembers thinking. “You’re really waking me up for this?”

Gilles says he had to check the numbers online himself to believe the news.

“I started to cry instantly,” he said. “It was awesome.”

“I can be sure that from this point on, this group of five men are going to be thinking that Friday the 13th is their lucky day,” Randy Weyersberg, OLG’s vice president of marketing and planning, said before introducing the winners.

Despite becoming Canada’s five newest millionaires, all of the men said that they will put “family first,” continue working and not make any big, rash purchases.

“I can’t quit,” MacDonald explained. “You know, I’ve got to keep myself busy.”