Thomson family remains atop list of Canada's richest

Canada's rich just keep getting richer, judging from Canadian Business magazine's 14th annual ranking of the country's 100 wealthiest people, known colloquially as the "rich list."

Rest of Top 10 includes Westons, Irvings, Rogerses and Saputos

Thomson Reuters chairman David Thomson looks on at the company's annual general meeting. Thomson's family remains Canada's richest by a wide margin. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Canada's rich just keep getting richer.

The vast majority of the names on Canadian Business magazine's 14th annual ranking of the country's 100 wealthiest people — known colloquially as the "rich list" — increased their wealth over the past year.

Some 86 of the names on the magazine's list have a higher net worth this year.

The Top 10

  1. Thomson Family, $20.1 billion
  2. Galen Weston, $8.2 billion
  3. J.K., Arthur and John Irving family, $8.07 billion
  4. Rogers family, $6.4 billion
  5. Jimmy Pattison, $6.14 billion
  6. Jeff Skoll, $4.55 billion
  7. Paul Desmarais Sr., $4.4 billion
  8. Saputo family, $4.23 billion
  9. Carlo Fidani, $3.6 billion
  10. Chip Wilson, $3.5 billion

All in all, there are 69 billionaires on the list — the most ever — and the cut-off was also at its highest ever, with 100th-ranked Futura Corp. founder Amar Doman having an estimated net worth of $654 million.

A media scion, a grocery magnate, a telecom powerhouse, an online retailer and a dairy titan are just some of those who cemented their place among Canada's wealthiest during the past year.

Topping the list once again is the Thomson family, with a net worth of $20.1 billion. From its origins as a media company, Thomson made a savvy move several years ago to move away from conventional media and into financial information databases through a tie-up with Reuters.

In addition to the core Thomson Reuters business, the family also owns stakes in the Winnipeg Jets NHL team and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

The Thomsons saw their net worth decline by 5.7 per cent this year but maintained the top spot.

Rising fortunes

In second place is Galen Weston, executive chairman of George Weston Ltd. and head of the Loblaws grocery chain and the Holt Renfrew luxury department store. Weston saw his net worth increase three per cent to $8.2 billion, the magazine says.

The Rogers family, which oversees the cable company that patriarch Ted Rogers founded, was in fourth spot at $6.4 billion — up eight per cent from last year. Much of that gain came from an increase in the value of the family's shares in TSX-listed Rogers Communications Inc.

At $4.55 billion, Montreal-born eBay founder and movie mogul Jeff Skoll came in sixth place, up 21.3 per cent compared with last year, the magazine says.

And Montreal's Saputo family also cracked the Top 10, coming in eighth place with a net worth of $4.23 billion, up 2.7 per cent from last year. The Saputos run Canada's largest cheese and dairy company, Saputo Inc., but they also own the Montreal Impact franchise in Major League Soccer.

Another name who gained ground was Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, whose net worth increased by 23 per cent to $3.5 billion, good enough to crack the Top 10.

One of the biggest names to drop was former Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie, whose fortune plunged 41 per cent to $651 million, just out of the Top 100. His RIM co-founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, however, held on to 84th spot.

During RIM's heyday in 2007, the dynamic duo were the eighth- and ninth-richest people in Canada.