here’s never a bad time to be a billionaire, but some years are better than others. And though 2012 has been a decidedly mixed year economically, it’s actually been a great year for the 100 richest Canadians—individuals so wealthy they’re members not just of the 1% but the 0.00028%. Of the 100 individuals and families on our 14th annual list, 86 grew their net worth, while only 14 experienced declines. The Rich 100 broke a number of their own records again, too: their collective net worth surged past $200 billion, which puts them within striking distance of the GDP of Pakistan. And after a few years of modest growth, the number of billionaires on our list popped up to 69. The economic slowdown that still grips much of the globe is keeping a damper on many industries—the moguls heavily invested in commodities or energy were more likely to be laggards this year—but telecom, real estate and consumer staples performed well and pushed many members’ net worth higher.
Those backing luxury or prestige brands had a particularly strong showing this year: Lawrence Stroll (No. 32) made a splash with a blockbuster IPO for luxury fashion label Michael Kors; Lululemon Athletica founder Chip Wilson (No. 10) cracked the top 10 for the first time; and Guy Laliberté (No. 27) added another few hundred million with the strong growth of Cirque du Soleil. Owning a major-league sports team (or three) is also de rigueur: the normally reclusive Daryl Katz (No. 51), owner of the Edmonton Oilers, has become embroiled in a very public spat with the City of Edmonton over plans for a new arena, while the Rogers family (No. 4) has lavished attention (and cash) on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors. “If someone knows what they’re worth, they’re usually not worth a lot,” one of our Rich 100 members, Kenneth Rowe (No. 77), joked to us earlier this year. With all due respect, we do know what he’s worth, and rest assured—it’s a lot.
For the full list of Canada’s 100 wealthiest people, pick up the Rich 100 special edition on stands or subscribe now for only $20 and receive instant access to the complete Rich 100 feature in PDF format.