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?
We’re constantly inundated with news about Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and many other Silicon Valley billionaires, but who are Canada’s richest people? Well there’s plenty of Canadian billionaires, unsurprisingly. Here’s a look at the 10 wealthiest.
Let’s Take a Look at the Top 10 Wealthiest Canadians in 2020:
1. David Thomson: $39 billion
The Thompson family have been Canada’s wealthiest people for a long time now. In fact, their 2009 status was $21 billion, which would still put them as Canada’s richest even 11 years on. The family control Thomson Reuters (TSX:TRI), a media conglomerate that owns many media companies — and is of course the most prestigious new organization in the world.
2. Joseph Tsai: $10.2 billion
Tsai is the vice chairman, and co-founder, of e-commerce giant Alibaba. The revenue of Alibaba is the 5th largest in the world. Tsai also owns 49% of the National Basketball Team Brooklyn Nets. Technology stocks are some of the fastest growers and they hold a lot of cash, so it’s no surprise to see Tsai in the top 2.
3. Galen Weston: $9 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.
4. James Irving: $7 billion
Whilst the previous three were all inside the top 200 global richest, James Irving is the first outside of this category. $7 billion is no small feat, though, which he has accumulated from the companies acquired by J.D. Irving, an umbrella corporation. You will have likely stopped by at one of these gas stations, as Irving’s largest asset is Irving Oil.
5. Richardson family: $6.55 billion
The Richardson family has a long history of eclectic businesses from selling farmers’ grain to supplying oil and gas. The family had actually expanded its energy holdings with a $1 billion purchase when facing weak oil prices in 2014. The company also has a partnership with True North Sports and Entertainment.
6. David Cheriton: $6.4 billion
Cheriton’s success is somewhat more unusual than the others: he invested $200,000 in Google when it was just starting out (1998). Cheriton is a computer scientist teaching at Stanford University, and whilst he is a venture capitalist, much of David’s fortune comes from Google’s success.
7. Jim Pattison: $5.7 billion
Jim Pattison is a 91-year old Canadian business magnate. Jim is based in Vancouver where he holds CEO and sole-ownership of Jim Pattison Group, Canada’s second largest private company. The group has overseas companies in entertainment, food and many other industries.
8. Emanuele (Lino) Saputo: $5.1 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 Emannuele’s father who only had $500 and a bicycle to deliver the products.
9. Chip Wilson: $4.6 billion
Chip (Christian name Dennis), is a Canadian billionaire who has founded several apparel companies. The most famous of which are Lululemon Athletica Inc. who focus on yoga-inspired athletic clothes. Today, Chip is no longer in his CEO position at Lululemon and only now owns 9% of the company.
10. Mark Scheinberg: $4.5 billion
Scheinberg is an Israeli-Canadian businessman in the real estate and hospitality industries. Mark is a relatively young billionaire at 47. Mark saw a lot of his success from co-founding PokerStars, a huge online gambling company which he sold in 2014 for $4.9 billion. Since then, Mark has been expanding into different industries instead.
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 (2018)
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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).
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.