It’s been over a decade since we first wrote about the richest Canadians, and we thought it was a good time to update the list! While some have remained on the top 10 wealthiest Canadian list for years, some have not been able to maintain that title. Others have been able to retain their top spot, with some adding millions, even billions, to their wealth since our last update.
When looking to build our own personal wealth, it can be inspiring to look to those that have made it big and generated considerable wealth. Perhaps we can learn some lessons from their smart money moves and apply them to our very own million dollar journey.
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1. David Thomson: $53.3 billion
If you are Canadian, it’s likely you already know that the Thomson family is the richest family in Canada. Since our last update 2 years ago, they have added a whopping $14.3 billion to their wealth.
How do they generate so much wealth? The family controls Thomson Reuters (TSX:TRI), a media conglomerate that owns many media companies — and is of course the most prestigious news organization in the world. In addition, they own the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper, as well as hold a stake in Bell Canada.
2. Changpeng Zhao: $16.4 billion
A new addition to the list of Canada’s wealthiest people, Zhao made his fortune as the co-founder and CEO of Binance, which has become the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform.
Since founding Binance, Zhao has also launched Binance Coin and Binance Smart Change, which has become a rival to Ethereum. Naturally, a chunk of Zhao’s net worth comes from holding cryptocurrency. Early this year, Binance announced a plan to buy a minority stake in Forbes, one of the leading business media outlets.
3. Jim Pattison: $11.6 billion
In spite of the pandemic, Pattinson has been able to double his wealth since our last update. His first foray into business was when he purchased a car dealership at the age of 33. At the age of 94 years old, he is still very much involved in running the 25 divisions under his company’s umbrella.
The entertainment division includes some world famous names such as the Guinness World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Pattison is also a philanthropist, and created the Jim Pattison Foundation, and has committed to donating 10% of his wealth to charitable causes.
4. David Cheriton: $10 billion
Another one who has moved up the list, adding more than $3 billion to his net worth since the last update, Cheriton started his billion dollar journey by investing $200,000 in Google in 1998. Among other ventures, he co-founded Granite Systems, which was purchased by Cisco Systems in 1996.
He is also an active investor as well as philanthropist. Cheriton is still a computer science professor at Stanford University, continuing to teach although he clearly does not have to.
5. Joseph Tsai: $8.1 billion
Although he’s fallen a few spots since our last update, Tsai is still one of Canada’s richest people. Tsai is the vice chairman, and co-founder, of e-commerce giant Alibaba. Although Alibaba’s stock has dropped during the last couple of years, it remains one of the world’s largest e-commerce giants. Tsai originally bought 49% of the Brooklyn Nets, and bought the remaining 51% in 2019.
6. Galen Weston Jr.: $7.6 billion
Outsiders may not know them, but every Canadian will have shopped in one of Weson’s stores. Loblaws, Real Canadian Super Store as well as No Frills are all owned by the same family. The grocery and retail company was founded by George’s grandfather, but by no means was he passive in its success. Weston Jr. is currently the executive chairman of the Loblaws Companies Ltd.
7. Anthony Von Mandl: $7.05 billion
If you’ve ever enjoyed a Mike’s Hard Lemonade or White Claw Hard Seltzer, you can thank Von Mandl, founder and CEO of the Mark Anthony Group. His group remains one of the largest importer and distributor of alcoholic beverages in Canada, and his U.S. business alone generated $3 billion alone in 2021.
Von Mandl got his start in the wine industry in the days where there were very few wineries in Canada. Nowadays you can often find him on the grounds of his favourite vineyard.
8. Alain Bouchard: $6 billion
Bouchard is one of the co-founders and current chairman of Alimentation Chouche-Tard, which now operates over 12,000 convenience stores worldwide. In 2003 Alimentation Chouche-Tard acquired popular U.S. convenience store brand Circle K.
A new addition to the top 10 list, Bouchard’s business sense has led him to immense wealth and earned him the title of Outstanding CEO of the year in 2012.
9. Chip Wilson: $5.8 billion
Wilson is a Canadian billionaire who has founded several apparel companies. The most famous of which is Lululemon Athletica Inc., which is known worldwide for its yoga athletic wear.
Although Wilson stepped down as CEO of Lululemon in 2013, he currently still owns 8% of the company. He also currently owns 0.6% of Chinese-based athletic wear company Anta.
10. Emanuele (Lino) Saputo & Family: $5 billion
Saputo was the CEO of Saputo, the Montreal-based dairy company, until his retirement in 2017. Saputo is the most well-known dairy company in Canada, which was founded by Emanuele’s father, an immigrant from Sicily, who only had $500 and a bicycle to deliver the products when he first started the company.
Today, Saputo’s dairy products are sold in over 40 countries worldwide. In addition, the family owns major stakes in several other companies, including trucking company TransForce.
The top 10 list has a broad selection of self-made billionaires and inherited companies — but you never have to go back many generations before the fortune was first built. Even with the billions in the bank, none of these billionaires are retiring before their time. They all enjoy expanding their businesses, growing and getting involved with projects that mean a lot to them.
Previous list of the richest Canadians (2020)
- Thomson Family ($53.3 Billion; vs $39 Billion in 2020)
- Joseph Tsai ($14.36 Billion; vs $10.2 Billion in 2020)
- Galen Weston ($7.6 Billion; vs $9 Billion in 2020)
- James Irving ($4.1 Billion; vs $7 Billion in 2020; no longer in the top 10)
- Richardson Family ($6.5 Billion in 2020; no longer in the top 10)
- David Cheriton ($10 Billion; vs $6.4 Billion in 2020)
- Jim Pattison ($11.6 ; vs $5.7 Billion in 20200
- Saputo Family ($5 Billion; vs 5.1 Billion in 2020)
- Chip Wilson ($5.8 Billion; vs $4.6 Billion in 2020)
- Mark Scheinberg ($4.9; vs $4.6 Billion in 2020)
It’s fascinating to learn about the top 10 wealthiest Canadians, especially when you consider the variety of businesses they have created. Many of them were certainly not born with silver spoons in their mouths, but got to their respective top spots due to their relentless passion and drive.
These are all excellent examples of people who reached financial freedom, yet continue to do what they love, even if they really wouldn’t have to work another day in their life. Talk about life goals!
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