Beloved Canadian Musician Wins Lottery !

bill barilko
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Walter Ostanek is The Man ! (external - login to view)

Polka King Ostanek wins $1 million in lottery draw

He's already the Polka King. Now, Niagara musician Walter Ostanek can add millionaire to his credentials.

The three-time Grammy winner thought a friend was joking when he told him Tuesday morning he had won $1 million in the London Dream Lottery to benefit London hospitals. He remembered entering - he enters everything, he says with a laugh – but his friend had pranked him good before.

This was no prank.

“That's just the way he is, he's always joking. He says, 'No, I'm not joking.'”

Ostanek, 81, was playing his daily gig at Marineland when he got the news. You'd hardly know he just won seven figures – as The Review caught up with him, he was enjoying a coffee getting ready to play his second set of the day.

He has no plans to quit. “I love it too much,” he said. “I love what I do.”

“Things aren't going to really change a lot in my life,” he added. “It's just going to make it a little more comfortable to stay. Maybe treat my family a little bit.”

But he's also being cautious: “I'll believe it when I get the cheque in the bank.”

The decorated St. Catharines musician, a member of the Order of Canada, says he has been buying raffle and lottery tickets most of his life. He recalls biking to the Merritton Carnival at 16 to enter a draw for a new car.

He has only won once, about 15 years ago when he was the early bird winner in a $100-per-ticket draw for a Rolls Royce. The prize was a trip for two for eight days to London, England.

It was a trip he spent with his wife, Irene. Tuesday's win is bittersweet – his wife is now in a nursing home battling dementia. But he says there's nothing they would have done with the $1 million they haven't already done.

“I did everything,” he says. “We did everything.”

In 1992, Ostanek broke a long Grammy doubt when he finally won Best Polka Album against longtime rival (now good friend) Jimmy Sturr. He won again in 1993 and 1994.

Even winning $1 million can't match the thrill of winning that first Grammy, he says.

“Trying to win a Grammy is not an easy task. And then I won three in a row.”

Three years ago, Ostanek sold his Geneva Street music store to instrument chain Long and McQuade.

Curious Cdn
Cool! John Candy based Yosh snd Stan Schmege on his act. (external - login to view)
From "E I E I E I Owe" "no, I owe, I owe no dough..."
just like that eh?
lone wolf
Someone says squeezebox ... I think Who
Someone says accordian ... I think Tiny Talent Time
...then the guy who made that thing cool

Rest in Peace, Wally-O
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious CdnView Post

Cool! John Candy based Yosh snd Stan Schmege on his act. (external - login to view)

Frankie Yankovich and Walter Ostenack.

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