All Articles

Canada's richest are getting richer

Canadian Business magazine releases its 11th annual ranking of Canada’s 100 wealthiest people

TORONTO, Nov. 19 /CNW/ – Given the tumultuous economy, we might have expected another year of the rich bleeding money, but they are actually making it – a lot of it. While the rich getting richer may be galling for many of us, the RICH 100 provides a rough barometer on the health of our economy. If these titans are recovering what was thought to be lost forever, then maybe soon we all will be, too.

The wealthy Thomson clan is at the top of Canadian Business magazine’s 11th annual RICH 100 ranking, having amassed roughly $21.99 billion, up 19% over last year. But that growth rate is nothing compared with Ivanhoe mining executive Robert Friedland’s. The ranking’s highest climber this year, his worth rose 217% to $1.59 billion and he jumped 61 spots to No. 32 in the RICH 100.

Find out who the other top 100 richest Canadians are – where they live, what they’ve been up to and how much their fortunes have changed over the volatile last year.

Canadian Business magazine’s top-selling issue, the special RICH 100 celebration of affluence and achievement, is on newsstands now. Or, to see the full list go to, after noon EST, today.

The Top 5 richest Canadians in 2009:

    Rank   Name (location), company                Net worth ($)    Rank '08
    1      Thomson family (Toronto),               21.99 billion    1
           Thomson Reuters, Woodbridge Co. Ltd.
    2      James (J. K.) Arthur and John (Jack)    7.28 billion     2
           Irving (Saint John, N.B.),
           Irving Oil Ltd., J. D. Irving Ltd.
    3      Galen Weston (Toronto),                 6.47 billion     3
           George Weston Ltd., Loblaw Cos. Ltd.
    4      James (Jimmy) Pattison (Vancouver),     5.07 billion     5
           Jim Pattison Group
    5      Rogers Family (Toronto),                4.7 billion      4
           Rogers Communications


    -   Number of billionaires this year: 55 (up from 53 in 2008)
    -   Total net worth of Rich 100 in 2009: $172.7 billion, up from
        $165.1 billion in 2008 (This year is second highest in 11-year
        history of ranking, after 2007's $176.9 billion)
    -   Percentage change increase from 2008 Rich 100: 4.6%

    Where do the rich reside?

    Ontario (39)
    Quebec (18)
    B.C. (12)
    Alberta (11)
    Nova Scotia (4)
    Manitoba (2)
    New Brunswick (2)
    Outside Canada (12)


This year marked a dramatic comeback for Rob McEwen, the founder of Goldcorp and current chairman and CEO of US Gold and Lexam Explorations. After dropping off the Rich 100 last year, McEwen landed in the 89th spot, as his net worth rose 134% to $568 million, from $243 million in 2008.

Dropoffs: Who fell off the list this year?

Lee Ka Lau of ATI Technologies actually grew his net worth this year to $472 million, but after placing 99th in 2008, it wasn’t enough to keep him on the list in 2009. Bill Comrie of the Brick Group’s Income Fund was a victim of the recessionary plummet in retail sales, and dropped off the list after his net worth fell to $415 million.


Seymour’s Way

Rich 100’s Seymour Schulich, a legendary entrepreneur, deal-maker and philanthropist, thinks Canada’s rich should be giving more money away – a lot more. Here’s how to do it.

A note on our methodology: As always, the Canadian Business team poked through proxy statements, insider-trading reports and a number of other sources, as well as made countless phone calls to estimate just how much our RICH 100 members and potential candidates were worth. For more information please visit

About Canadian Business: Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving, bestselling and most trusted business publication in Canada. Canadian Business stands alone as the business magazine in Canada with 100% paid circulation. With a readership of more than one million, the magazine is published every second Monday, except in January, July and August, when monthly issues are published. Special annual issues of Canadian Business include the Investor 500, the MBA Guide, the Rich 100 and the Best and Worst Boards. Visit: