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Top 10 Wealthiest Canadians

I received the newest edition of Canadian Business late last week and an article caught my eye.  The article was called “The Rich 100 List” which listed Canada’s top 100 wealthiest people.

We hear a lot about the richest Americans – Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, The Waltons, Lawrence Ellison, Michael Dell, the Google guys and the list goes on.  But what about ridiculously rich Canadians?  With a much smaller population, who are these wealthy Canucks?

Lets take a look at the top 10 wealthiest Canadians:

  1. Thomson Family ($21.99 Billion) – Not only head and shoulders wealthier than the next wealthiest family in Canada, the Thompson family is among the richest in the world.  The Thompson family controls Thompson Reuters (TSX: TRI) which is a global media company.
  2. James (J.K), Arthur, John (Jack) Irving ($7.28 Billion) – Most of us have heard of Irving Oil, but what we may not have known is that it was started by the Irving Family of Atlantic Canada.  They own gas stations, refineries, ship building, trucking and media businesses in the Atlantic provinces.
  3. Galen Weston ($6.47 Billion) We all do grocery shopping and likely in one of Mr. Westons stores.  Loblaws (TSX: L or TSX:WN) which is Canada’s largest grocery chain, or how about Real Canadian Super Store or No Frills?  Yup, all part of the same family.
  4. Jimmy Pattison ($5.07 Billion) –  Jim is a diversified businessman from the Vancouver area.  He owns car dealerships, Ripley museums, coal export and media among other things.
  5. Rogers Family ($4.7 Billion) – With my cable bill apparently increasing on a semi annual basis, it’s no wonder the Rogers family just seems to get richer.  As many of you know, Rogers has a wide customer base from its cable, Internet, cell phone and home phone divisions (TSX: RCI.b).
  6. Paul Desmarais Sr. ($4.28 Billion) – Paul controls Power Corp (TSX: POW) and its sister company Power Financial (TSX: PWF) which is a large insurance and financial conglomerate in Canada.  As a side note, I own shares in PWF.
  7. Barry Sherman ($3.85 Billion) – He is the Chairman and CEO of Apotex Inc. which is Canada’s largest generic drug maker.
  8. David Azrieli ($3.73 Billion) – He is a well known builder, designer, architect, and developer.  His development firms are considered leaders in the field.
  9. Jeff Skoll ($3.59 Billion) – Jeff is a Canadian born engineer and businessman.  How did he get so wealthy?  He was the 2nd employee and first president of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY).
  10. Fred and Ron Mannix ($2.98 Billion) – The two brothers run The Mancal Group which in 1997 sold its energy interests for around $2 billion dollars.  Today the company does private equity investments in oil and gas exploration, real estate, coal, and private portfolio management.

What do all these guys have in common?  Besides a lot of zeroes in their bank accounts, they all started and/or run successful businesses and from various profiles that I’ve read, they all love what they do.

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Nanci December 10, 2009, 9:49 am

    Now Frugal Trader, don’t be so modest! I am sure you were number 16 or 17… In a few years you can post your About page to the above list, and we can all say, “we remember when….”.

    Thanks for this, have a good day.


  • saveING.ca This is why I signed up with ING Direct December 10, 2009, 10:39 am

    I thought Paul Desmarais was higher up…

  • guinness416 December 10, 2009, 11:19 am

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read that Hilary Weston, Galen’s wife and fellow Dub, is also the wealthiest Irish person alive.

  • Asher December 10, 2009, 12:11 pm

    These lists aren’t accurate.

    These only publish KNOWN wealth. These lists miss out on the values of personal property, private holding companies, other real estate investments etc.

    I personally know of families worth around those numbers who none of you have ever heard about, and most of it is more liquid than the individuals mentioned above!

  • JDWood December 10, 2009, 2:03 pm

    I am pretty sure thee Irving compaines were started by their father K.C. Irving. The boys didn’t start until the seventies.

  • Henry December 10, 2009, 2:18 pm

    How much liquid assets do you guys think one need to have a comfortable life in Canada?

    In my opinion, 1 million dollars excluding real estate is a good number.

  • Caitlin December 10, 2009, 3:42 pm

    @Henry – define “comfortable life”?

    Hrm, seems I’m the wrong sort of Thompson! ;)

  • Larry December 10, 2009, 4:07 pm

    The Irving empire was started by one K.C. Irving – these two are just the sons who happened to have been born into the right family…they did NOT start the Irving empire. :)

    Did you also know that KC lived in Bermuda until his death which is where his companies are registered for tax pusposes and that as part of his sons taking over, they also have to live there as their prime residence as well?

  • Peter rock December 10, 2009, 5:57 pm

    It’s thomson not Thompson geez

  • Ben December 10, 2009, 6:11 pm

    Canadian Business forgot to interview me again this year….oops.

  • FT FrugalTrader December 10, 2009, 8:58 pm

    Thanks for the heads up guys, fixed the errors.

    Nanci, flattering… maybe some day. :)

  • Ms Save Money December 10, 2009, 9:28 pm

    yup totally agree – going back to this article – https://www.milliondollarjourney.com/finding-your-passion.htm

    passion is a great success driver.

  • sco December 10, 2009, 11:09 pm

    This is what a system skewed in favor of the very few very rich does. If they were properly taxed they would not have that much wealth build on the back of the hard work of all of us.

  • ghostryder December 11, 2009, 1:35 am

    “This is what a system skewed in favor of the very few very rich does. If they were properly taxed they would not have that much wealth build on the back of the hard work of all of us.”

    Sco seems to be one of those misguided people that think that these uber-rich actually have all their worth sitting in cash in the bank. Most (if not all) of those listed above are “worth” that much on paper. Most of their wealth is because they are major shareholders of companies they started or inherited.

    Galen Weston probably pays more in income tax in one year on the dividends he gets from Weston than Sco will earn in a lifetime.

    Jeff Skoll is rich because he helped take ebay from small to major success.

  • sco December 11, 2009, 4:28 am

    ghost seems to be one of those misguided defenders (and worshipers) of the very rich. I don’t think they have their fortune in cash; they are the real owners (major shareholders) of the big corporations for which us, the poor, are working our asses off and are being paid pennies.
    If we were smarter, we would tax all incomes over ridiculous levels (like $2M/year) at 95%, so that obscene fortunes like those listed here would not be possible. Unfortunately most of us are dumb enough to think that we can also become rich one day, by working extra hard and kissing the right asses.

  • Big Cajun Man December 11, 2009, 10:40 am

    I’ll bet there are a few “phantom” rich folk who don’t like having their names in the papers, but I am not one of them. Hopefully I’ll be on this list one day.

  • Mai December 11, 2009, 8:27 pm

    I do not agree with you sco. I grew up in a communist country where everyone had the same salary and no one could get rich. You have no idea how miserable life was because there were no incentives whatsoever to strive for excellence or make things better. Now I am proud to be in North America. I no longer have to make my own clothes, I can buy the food that I want and my kids can play with real toys and not sticks and pebbles because there are companies out there who who make what I want to buy in exchange for my $$$. These profits are their incentive. It is called capitalism. And this is fine with me, I would never go back to my orhter life. So grow up or educate yourself becore posting such ridiculous statements as 95% taxation. You have no idea what you wish for.

  • cash back reward December 12, 2009, 8:40 pm

    Would have of these make it in the top wealthiest people in the world?

  • cannon_fodder December 14, 2009, 11:48 pm

    I don’t agree with these “Forbes-like” lists that include entire families as opposed to individuals.

    Henry – there is another important factor in that equation. Liabilities! Having $1M in assets with $1M liabilities doesn’t necessarily make you any more rich than someone who owns nothing and owes nothing.

    Western style governments recognize that small businesses are great places to put stimulus money. They employ a large proportion of all workers, their growth rates are quite large and the amount invested can often be proportionately small yet quite impactful.

    If you have a government that encourages owners to reinvest back into their business they can grow more quickly and employ more people. I also am glad I live in a capitalistic country with a socialist mindset.

    There are enough incentives to become very wealthy and yet enough opportunities for the government to share some of your wealth with others.

  • Canadian Freedom December 16, 2009, 11:54 pm

    The common thread here is that the wealthy are invested in assets. They leverage money and people to create wealth. Anyone can do it although some may do it more than others. What one person can do another can do! We just need to learn from them, set our own goals, and put our own plans in place. Then do it!

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