Thomson family top list of richest Canadians, most of Top 10 saw wealth grow

TORONTO – The influential Thomson family is still atop the list of richest Canadians, though their wealth dropped from a year ago, while most other members of the Top 10 made gains.

The family that owns media conglomerate Thomson Reuters as well as Woodbridge Co. Ltd., which has a majority stake in the Globe and Mail newspaper, is worth about $20.1 billion, according to Canadian Business magazine’s annual ranking of Canada’s wealthiest.

However, the family’s worth fell about 5.7 per cent as some of its media-focused properties struggled in trying economic times.

Meanwhile, retail mogul Galen Weston, 72 — the highest ranking individual — saw his wealth improve by three per cent to an estimated $8.2 billion, remaining in the No. 2 position.

Weston is the main power behind food processor George Weston Ltd. (TSX:GW), Canada’s largest grocery chain, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. (TSX:L), and luxury retailer Holt Renfrew.

New Brunswick industrialists James, Arthur and the late Jack Irving came in at No. 3 with a combined net worth of $8.07 billion, while the media barons in the Rogers family (TSX:RCI.B) sat in fourth place at an estimated $6.41 billion.

Vancouver’s Jimmy Pattison came in fifth with wealth of $6.14 billion, while Montreal eBay founder Jeff Skoll jumped up the list to No. 6 from No. 8 last year as his worth grew 21.3 per cent to $4.55 billion.

Paul Desmarais Sr., owner of Power Corp. of Canada (TSX:POW) sat at No. 7 with a net worth of $4.4 billion, while Montreal’s Saputo family, owners of the cheese empire (TSX:SAP), came in eighth with $4.23 billion.

Carlo Fidani, owner of Toronto-area construction and development company Orlando Corp., shot into the Top 10, ranking ninth at $3.6 billion, growing 13.5 per cent from a year ago when he ranked twelfth.

Rounding out the top 10 was Vancouver’s Chip Wilson, founder of trendy yoga wear maker Lululemon Athletica Inc. (TSX:LLL), who jumped up in the rankings from No. 15 last year as his wealth shot up 23 per cent to $3.51 billion.