Canada, the beautiful country located in the Northern part of North America with its ten provinces and three territories, has the world’s longest bi National land border. This country spends a significant amount of money on domestic research and development and has over 15 Nobel laureates from physics, chemistry, and medicine. This country’s overall growth rate is impeccable. It has one of the highest levels of internet access globally, reaching out to the most remote population as 94% of people in the country have access to high-speed internet.
Canada’s fortune was built by economically and thoroughly exploiting its immense reserve of natural resources. Canada’s GDP of $1.6 trillion is the ninth highest GDP by nominal in the world. The country’s low population and abundance of resources make for a healthy, highly developed economy. Due to the strategic growth opportunities and a push for better industries, this country is filled with aspiring young and old billionaires who have made their fortune from scratch and strive to rank among the top wealthiest people worldwide. Canada reportedly has 41 billionaires.
Despite Canada’s economic stability, the Coronavirus outbreak had had adverse effects on Canada’s wealthiest. With the declining value of the Canadian dollar and the economic turmoil in the markets caused by the pandemic, Canada’s wealthiest are significantly poorer than the previous year.
The following is a list of the top 15 wealthiest people in Canada.
1. David Thomson and family
With a net worth of $39.9B, David Thomson and his family occupy the top spot as Canada’s wealthiest family. David took over the family business following the passing of this father, Kenneth Thomson, in 2006, following a detailed succession plan laid out by Roy Thomson, David’s grandfather and founder of the Thomson empire. David led the acquisition of the British company, Reuters Group, in 2008, thereby forming the merged Thomson Reuters Corporation, of which he is the Chairman. This media giant puts the Thomson family at the 24th spot among the richest in the world. 64% stake of the Reuters unit is owned by Woodbridge, a holding company owned by the family. David Thomson is also the chairman of the Globe and Mail newspaper. Woodbridge also holds a stake in IHS and Strategic Hotels and Resorts. Before joining the Thomson family business, David Thomson founded Osmington Incorporated, a real estate firm operating outside of the Thomson business giant, a True North Sports, and Entertainment partner.
Roy Thomson kick-started his family’s journey towards becoming one of the largest media moguls on the planet by acquiring a single newspaper house and expanding. In a few years, Thomson had expanded his empire to over 200 newspapers across North America. The U.K. Kenneth Thomson took over the company when its net worth was bordering around $500 million. David acquired the company when its value was at $30 billion.
Following the acquisition of Reuters group, however, Thomson’s stocks have deteriorated, leading to the possibility of selling off of the Thomson Reuters unit to Blackstone.
2. Joseph Tsai
Lawyer turned businessman Joseph Chung-Hsin Tsai, a Taiwanese-Hong Kong-Canadian billionaire, and Canada’s second wealthiest citizen. With a net worth of $13.1 billion, Tsai earned his wealth as the co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Corporation. A sports enthusiast since childhood, Tsai played lacrosse and football when he attended Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and in the Yale varsity lacrosse team during his college days. Tsai owns the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA and is chairman of J Tsai sports, a company investing in the Premier Lacrosse League. Joseph was born to lawyer Dr. Paul C. Tsai and Ruby in Taipei, Taiwan. After the Communist Party of China’s empowerment in 1949, the family ran off to America. Joseph got himself enrolled in Yale University, and later in the famous Yale Law School, the same as his father.
Joseph Tsai started his career as a lawyer from the Sullivan and Cromwell firm after graduation and soon joined the New York Bar as an attorney. After frequently changing jobs, Tsai joined Investor AB to take responsibility for all the Asian private equity investments. Eventually, in 1999 he discontinued that employment to start from absolute scratch with Jack Ma. Alibaba’s financial and legal structure was made entirely from nothing by the expertise, experience, and talent.
3. Galen Weston
Willard Gordon Galen Weston’s financial records state his net worth to be $9 billion. This George Weston Limited’s British-Canadian Chairman Emeritus is 80 years old and listed as the third wealthiest person in Canada. The Westons have a family-based charity organization, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, that has successfully made donations worth $ 200 million within less than a decade. The Westons officially have multiple residences, one at Fort Belvedere, Surrey, where they stay while visiting the UK, one at central Toronto, one an island owned in Georgian Bay, Ontario, one at Eleuthera and Harbour Island in the Bahamas, and one at Vero Beach, Florida.
Galen Weston is also a famous philanthropist, evident from his support towards various charitable causes, especially for Canadian students like the W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the Art Gallery of Ontario, a Weston Family Learning Centre. The family foundation also extensively contributes to nature and wilderness preservation to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The charity food banks and the Salvation Army in Canada also benefit majorly from the donations provided by the family foundations of the Weston’s.
4. David Cheriton
A computer scientist cum mathematician, David Cheriton, turned into a successful businessman, venture capitalist, and reputation philanthropist, holds a net worth of $ 6.4 billion. He also happens to be having a professor position in computer science at Standford University. He is Canadian by birth and is an alumnus of prestigious schools like the University of British Columbia and Waterloo University. He received the SIGCOMM Lifetime Achievement Award back in 2003 and led the Distributed Systems Group.
As a philanthropist, David Cheriton has reportedly donated $ 25 million for study, research, and student support at the School of Computer Science at his alma mater, University of Waterloo. It was later renamed as a tribute to him as David R. Cheriton School Of Computer Science. He also donated a lump sum amount of $ 7.5 million to his other alma mater, the University of British Columbia, and another $ 12 million to finance the computer science faculty, scholarships, and fellowships at his workplace, Stanford University.
5. James Irving
Like his brother Arthur Irving, James also comes under the list of the 15 wealthiest people in Canada in 2020. He was the eldest son of a Canadian billionaire businessman and industrialist K. C. Irvin. After his father’s death, he shared the massive wealth with his two brothers Arthur and John. While Arthur got the ownership and responsibility for the family business of oil, along with the retail stores, the oil refineries, the oil tankers, and obviously the distribution terminals, James got the ownership and responsibility for their family publishing house Brunswick News.
He also got a massive company with conglomerate interests across industries like transportation, shipping lines, shipbuilding, building supplies, forestry, frozen food, pulp and paper, tissue, and lumber. As estimated in 2018, his net worth was $ 6.9 billion, and he was ranked as the 4th richest person in Canada by Forbes in 2019.
Although he is in the forestry business, James gets frequently involved in the Restoration and preservation of the Atlantic Salmon in northeastern North America. Among his philanthropic activities lies the Partners Assisting Local School Program, also known as PALS for the townies in Saint John N. B.
6. Jim Pattison
This Canadian business magnate and investor James Allen Pattison is also the chief executive officer of Vancouver in British Columbia. He is also the chairman and the sole owner of the Jim Pattison Group, which has annual sales of $ 10 billion with over 50,000 employees from all over the world. His current net worth is $ 5.7 billion, and he raised it by over $ 3 billion within the last decade. His company is considered to be the second-largest private company in Canada.
Pattison was appointed to the Order Of Canada in 1947, the Order of British Columbia in 1990, received the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary in Canada from the Governor General and inducted into Canada’s Walk Of Fame in December 2018.
7. Huang Chulong
The chairman of Galaxy Groups pictures of privately held businesses spanning hotels, shopping malls, office leasing, parking lot operation, and real estate development. He was ranked the 81st richest man in China and 320th in the world. Although his citizenship is in Canada, his residence is in Shenzhen, China, where he lives with his family. His business operations are based in the southern city of Shenzhen as well. His net worth amounts to $ 5.6 billion. Due to his avoidance of media and communications, much is unknown about his career, but he ranks in the list of the youngest billionaires Canada or even the world has seen.
8. Emanuele (Lino) Saputo
Italian-Canadian billionaire Emanuele “Lino” Saputo is currently Canada’s 8th richest person. Saputo’s net worth is $5.2 billion. Emanuele Saputo has been the chairman and president of Saputo Inc., the extremely famous cheese manufacturing company, since 1969. In 1997, when the company became public, Saputo became the CEO.
Born in Montelepre, Sicily, Emmanuele “Lino” Saputo immigrated to Montreal with his family after completing his secondary education. Saputo’s father, Giuseppe Saputo, was a cheesemaker. This served as inspiration for Saputo to launch his business and then turn it into a gratifying venture. Apart from Saputo Inc., Emanuele Saputo has several real estate investments, luxury hotels, forest products, and even golf courses worldwide. He holds shares in TransForce, a trucking company. Back in 2006, Montreal Impact built the Saputo Stadium in Olympic Park. Emanuele Saputo commissioned the construction. In 2011, Emanuele “Lino” Saputo became Officer of the National Order of Quebec, and in the following year, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
9. Chip Wilson
Retail business tycoon and philanthropist Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson is most well known for being the co-founder of Lululemon Athletica Inc. With a bet of $4.8 billion. Chip Wilson is considered to be the pioneer of the athleisure trend in fashion. The inspiration for the athleisure direction that has made Wilson one of the richest men comes from his parents, who were both athletes; his father being a physical education teacher in South California. Wilson attended the University of Calgary, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
Chip Wilson’s first apparel company was Westbeach Snowboard Ltd. in 1979. This retail apparel brand was created to cater to the surf and skate community. In 1997, Wilson sold Westbeach Snowboard, and a year later, Lululemon Athletica Inc. was founded. Till 2005, Wilson served as the CEO of Lululemon Athletica Inc before selling 48% of the shares to Highland Capital Partners and Advent International. While since then, more shares of the company have been sold, and Wilson’s involvement has reduced. He remains dedicated to the quality control of products and vocal about the ethics of innovation. Chip Wilson and his wife Shannon have been awarded honorary doctorate certificates from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. They also are involved in several charities.
10. Mark Scheinberg
Mark Scheinberg is an Israeli-Canadian investor and businessman whose net worth is $3.5 billion. Scheinberg’s investments are usually in luxury hospitality and real estate. Mark Scheinberg moved to Toronto, Canada, from Israel in 1980 with his family.
Scheinberg’s first venture was co-founding PokerStars in 2001. Scheinberg partnered with his father, Isai Scheinberg, a computer programmer, to launch this online cardroom for poker. PokerStars became hugely popular and even the most extensive online tournament. In 2012, the brand Full Tilt Poker was acquired by Mark Scheinberg and PokerStars. Mark Scheinberg also has an investment firm, known as Mohari Hospitality. Through Mohari Hospitality, Scheinberg has invested in the Spanish real estate project Centro Canalejas Madrid. Apart from his business ventures, Mark Scheinberg takes an interest in the welfare of wildlife. The entire family supports the Scheinberg Relief Fund, which provides donations for wildlife conservation. The fund also helped with Covid-19 relief in March 2020.
11. Alain Bouchard
Quebec based businessman Alain Bouchard is the co-founder of Alimentation Couche-Tard. The company owns convenience stores across Canada, the USA, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Ireland, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Latvia, Poland, China, Japan, and Indonesia. Bouchard also has a seat on the board of directors of Atrium Innovations. As a child, Alain Bouchard saw his father go bankrupt, and the family had to move into a mobile home. As a nineteen-year-old, Bouchard got his first job at his brother’s Perrette milk store. A few years later, Bouchard was hired to scout locations for new stores.
The opportunity to work for a convenience store came in when Alain Bouchard was 24 years old. He worked for Provigo. In the late 1970s, Bouchard co-founded Alimentation Couche-Tard. His net worth is now $3.9 billion. Bouchard expanded the one-store organization to include 12,500 stores across the globe. The company has acquired Circle K, On The Run, and other brands like Dairy Mart and Daisy Mart. In 2012, Alain Bouchard was declared Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year, and he has also been awarded the International Horatio Alger Award.
12. Peter Gilgan
Peter Gilgan is the founder and CEO of Mattamy Group Corp. His net worth is $4 billion. Gilgan founded Mattamy Homes in 1978. Since then, the corporation has constructed homes for more than 90,000 people. In 1986, Gilgan began to design community-based homes.
Peter Gilgan started his career as an accountant before moving on to real estate development. Mattamy Group Corp was named after Peter Gilgan’s eldest children Matt and Amy. The company focuses on creating homes that have a unique design. The inspiration for such innovation and construction came from the New Urbanism movement. It led Gilgan away from typical real estate and towards the development of suburban community homes. Gilgan has also launched Mattamy Asset Management, which invests in many startups. Peter Gilgan is also passionate about philanthropic efforts. His corporation has been working with WE to build a college in Kenya with fully financed civil engineering and information technology departments. Peter Gilgan believes in creating long-term jobs for his employees and providing homes at sustainable rates, especially during the availability and affordability crisis.
13. Arthur Irving
The owner of Irving Oil Ltd., Arthur Irving, is worth $3.5 billion. Arthur Irving came to own Irving Oil Ltd through the Arthur Irving Family Trust. Being the son of renowned Canadian industrialist K. C. Irving, Arthur Irving had been trained from a young age to take over a part of his father’s business. Irving studied at Acadia University. After his father died in 1992, all Irving family companies were divided among Arthur Irving and his two brothers, J. K. Irving, and Jack Irving.
In 1992, Irving was granted sole ownership of Irving Oil Ltd. He became responsible for all company facilities, retail stores, tankers, refineries, and terminals for distribution. Arthur Irving became the Chancellor of Acadia University in 1996 and served his alma mater till 2010. In 2008, Arthur Irving and his brothers were included in the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Irving has also established the K. C. Irving Environmental Science Center at Acadia University. He also donated $80 million to Dartmouth to open the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.
14. Daryl Katz
Canadian billionaire and philanthropist Daryl Allan Katz is the founder of the Katz Group of Companies. He also serves as chairman. With a net worth of $3.5 billion, Katz’s corporation is one of Canada’s largest private enterprises. Katz’s enterprise owns businesses in various sectors, including sports, entertainment, pharmacy, and real estate.
A resident of Edmonton, Alberta, Daryl Katz graduated from the University of Alberta with an arts degree in 1982. Later in 1985, Katz received another degree, this time in law. Daryl Katz’s first business venture was the Rexall drugstore chain in 1996. Within two years, Katz managed to boost sales and had 80 pharmaceutical stores and 30 different shop outlets. He did the same with several other pharmaceutical store chains. Over the years, Daryl Katz has acquired several assets, especially in the sports and entertainment sectors. He also owns the Edmonton Oilers. Katz has made significant donations to the pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences department and the law faculty at the University of Alberta. He has also established the Daryl A Katz Centre For Urgent And Critical Care.
15. Bob Gagliardi
The founder of Northland Properties, Bob Gagliardi, has a net worth of $3 billion. Gagliardi’s company invests in and develops hotels and restaurants. Bob Gagliardi also has ventured into other sectors like sports and construction.
Bob Gagliardi established Northland Properties Corporation in 1963. Since then, Gagliardi has been successful in expanding the business to become the largest, privatized hospitality corporation in North America. The company was launched after Gagliardi was able to secure a $5000 loan. By 1967, Bob Gagliardi developed his first hotel, the Sandman Inn in British Columbia. The Sandman Inn hotels have become popular, and Gagliardi has created them across Canada. Bob Gagliardi has also invested in sports teams. In 2011, along with his son Tom, Gagliardi purchased the Dallas Stars NHL team. Gagliardi continues to work with his son, and the duo has been involved in many business ventures together.
Despite the economic crisis during the pandemic, Canada’s billionaires have held onto their wealth, and some have also increased it. While the situation has affected even the richest, what has allowed them to keep amassing wealth is that the stock market performances have been disconnected from the country’s economy. However, there is another critical factor. Canada’s richest men have been conducting business for almost 40 years. The accumulation of that wealth has allowed them to invest more and thus increase it, even amidst difficult times.