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Top 10 Wealthiest Canadians (2018 Edition)

This post was originaly written in 2009 (yes 2009!) and I thought it would be interesting to see how and if things have changed over the past decade.  Do the rich continue to get richer?  Are there new editions to the list of super wealthy Canadians?

I received the newest edition of Canadian Business (list) 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 – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, 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?

Let’s Take a Look at the Top 10 Wealthiest Canadians in 2018:

  1. Thomson Family ($41.14 Billion; vs $21.99 Billion in 2009) –  This family has not only maintained their crown, but they also have built substantially on their lead.  Not only are they head and shoulders wealthier than the next wealthiest family in Canada, but the Thompson family is also among the richest in the world.  The Thompson family controls Thompson Reuters (TSX: TRI) which is a global media company and a dividend achiever (dividend paid in USD).
  2. Joseph Tsai ($14.36 Billion; new since 2009) – When you think big online retailer in China, who do you think of?  Mr. Tsai, a Canadian citizen, is one of the co-founders of one of the largest online retailers in the world – Alibaba!  With technology stocks doing very well over the past 10 years, it has paid off handsomely making him one of the richest Canadians in the world.
  3. Galen Weston ($13.55 Billion; vs $6.47 Billion in 2009) – 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.  Since acquiring Shoppers Drug Mart, they have combined the points program to make it one of the largest programs in Canada (and my personal favorite – here’s how to maximize PC PLUS points).
  4. Rogers Family ($11.57 Billion; vs $4.7 Billion in 2009) – With my cable bill apparently increasing on a semi-annual basis, it’s no wonder the Rogers family (TSX: RCI.B) 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. Don’t forget their sports ownership as well – Toronto Blue Jays, the Rogers Centre, Sportsnet and partial ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Argonauts, and Marlies.
  5. Saputo Family ($10.41 Billion; new since 2009) –  Say cheese!  The Saputo family is among the top 10 dairy producers in not just Canada – the World!  The family controls the shares of Saputo company with majority ownership (TSX: SAP with a market cap $15.4B).
  6. Garrett Camp ($8.58 Billion; new since 2009) – Have you taken an Uber?  Ever wonder who started the company?  Garrett Camp is the co-founder of Uber and while he still sits on the board, he has since moved onto other ventures.  Before starting Uber, Garrett founded and ran StumbleUpon which he sold to eBay for $75M.  His net worth is based on an Uber valuation of $50B.  With IPO plans and a potential valuation of $120B, it’s safe to assume that Garrett Camp will be much wealthier in 2019 – possibly top 3!
  7. Paul Desmarais Sr. ($8.38 Billion; vs $4.28 Billion in 2009) – Paul controls Power Corp (TSX: POW) and its sister company Power Financial (TSX: PWF) which is a large insurance and financial conglomerate in Canada.  Their main assets are IGM Financial and Great-West Lifeco but have diversified into the robo-advisor game (Wealthsimple).
  8. Irving Family ($7.38 Billion; vs $7.28 Billion in 2009) – 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, shipbuilding facilities, trucking and media businesses in the Atlantic provinces.  However, with no increase in net worth since 2009, one has to question if they are losing their touch?
  9. Richardson Family ($6.55 Billion; new since 2009) – This is a new addition to the list and not well known on the headlines.  This family runs a traditional business of selling farmers’ grain, manage investors money, supply oil and gas (buy and sell oil wells), in addition to real estate.
  10. Jimmy Pattison ($6.41 Billion; vs $5.07 Billion in 2009) –  Jim is a diversified businessman from the Vancouver area.  He owns car dealerships, grocery stores, Ripley museums, coal export, and media among other assets.

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, and they all enjoy what they do.  Even with billions of dollars in assets, billionaires continue to grow and add to their assets.  Maybe there is some truth in the saying – if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

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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.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Avatar 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.


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

    I thought Paul Desmarais was higher up…

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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!

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar Caitlin December 10, 2009, 3:42 pm

    @Henry – define “comfortable life”?

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

  • Avatar 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?

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

    It’s thomson not Thompson geez

  • Avatar 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. :)

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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.

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

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

  • Avatar 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.

  • Avatar 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!

  • Avatar GYM October 23, 2018, 5:58 pm

    Great list- I haven’t heard of the Irving Family nor of Joseph Tsai.

  • Avatar Marcuz Christi November 4, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Didn’t Paul Desmarais die like five years ago?

  • Avatar Ryan January 9, 2019, 10:06 am

    thanks for the articles and updates! Curious if you could include the average and median Canadian NW along side these big shooters over that period!

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