21. Harrison McCain Family
Net worth: $2.13 billion | Up 8% | Location: Calgary | 06 rank: 19
McCain Foods Ltd. celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and, to mark the occasion, donated $2 million to Florenceville. A $70-million spud-processing plant is under construction in the town, scheduled to be completed in September 2008. With health consciousness on the rise, McCain’s entire line of potato-based products will be trans-fat free by the end of this year. (Read our profile of Laura McCain-Jensen.)
22. Richardson Family
Net worth: $2 billion | Up 11% | Location: Winnipeg | 06 rank: 20
Although its takeover bid for Agricore United lost to Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Inc. (TSX: VT), James Richardson International Ltd. acquired assets from SaskPool that made it the second-largest grain company in Canada. The transaction, worth roughly $315 million, included grain elevators and crop input centres throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
23. Sobey Family
Net worth: $1.95 billion | Up 28% | Location: New Glasgow, N.S. | 06 rank: 29
Sobeys Inc. went private in June when public holding company Empire Co. Ltd. (TSX: EMP.A), which is controlled by members of the Sobey family, bought the 28% of Sobeys shares it didn’t already own for $1.06 billion. A month earlier the grocery chain began its 100th anniversary celebrations with a 100-day-long bonanza, which included chances to win 950,000 prizes, ranging from discounts at Sobeys stores to a $25,000 kitchen renovation.
24. Wallace McCain
Net worth: $1.94 billion | Up 9% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 21
This fall McCain’s already-long list of accolades grew with the coveted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award. The chairman of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. was also declared, along with his late brother Harrison, Canada’s greatest entrepreneur of all time by an online poll conducted by Roynat Capital of more than 6,500 Canadians, beating Ken Thomson, Israel Asper and K. C. Irving.
25. David Cheriton
Net worth: $1.91 billion | Up 20% | Location: Palo Alto, Calif. | 06 rank: 27
Famously shy about his wealth, Cheriton keeps his focus where it’s always been — away from the money and directly on technology. He recently invested in the Stanford Racing Team, which created sensing technology that successfully navigated a robotic car 211 kilometres through the Mojave desert. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) licensed the technology with the aim of competing with Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Virtual Earth mapping technology.
26. Allan Slaight
Net worth: $1.89 billion | Up 7% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 22
Slaight’s privately held Standard Radio Inc. and all its 52 stations were bought by Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM.B) this year for about $1.08 billion, making Astral the largest radio broadcaster in the country. The Slaight family remains involved in the company, with Allan’s son Gary expected to sit on Astral’s board of directors.
27. Douglas Fregin
Net worth: $1.72 billion | Up 164% | Location: Waterloo, Ontario | 06 rank: 70
Fregin received a standing ovation in July when he announced his retirement at the Research In Motion (TSX: RIM) AGM. He and high-school buddy Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s co-founder, transformed their electronics hobby into the multibillion-dollar wireless powerhouse. All that tinkering sure paid off: Fregin’s stake in the company is estimated at more than $1 billion.
28. Marcel Adams
Net worth: $1.68 billion | Up 4% | Location: Montreal | 06 rank: 26
After escaping labour camps in Romania during the Holocaust, Adams eventually landed in Montreal with plans to work as a tanner like his father. Within a few years, he’d bought his first property, and in a few more his first mall opened. Iberville Developments, the real estate company he founded in 1958, now owns and manages a portfolio of more than 100 properties. Adams’ son Sylvan is now at the helm.
29. Robert Friedland
Net worth: $1.67 billion | Up 39% | Location: Singapore | 06 rank: 38
He’s been referred to alternatively as the “king of the Canadian juniors” in mining circles and “toxic Bob” among environmentalists. The founder and chairman of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (TSX: IVN) is known for financing mining ventures in far-flung places such as Burma. Ivanhoe is in the process of finalizing an investment agreement with the Mongolian government for the Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine. In the meantime, its partner in the project, Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP), has given Ivanhoe a $350-million convertible credit facility to continue construction.
30. Jean Coutu
Net worth: $1.66 billion | Up 17% | Location: Montreal | 06 rank: 31
In August, François Coutu was given another go as CEO of the drugstore chain his father founded, Jean Coutu Group (TSX: PJC.A). François was named CEO in 2002, but then demoted back to president and head of Canadian operations in late 2005 when his father resumed the title to handle problems with a U.S. acquisition. Jean Coutu Group sold its U.S.-based stores in June to Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) for US$2.36 billion and 250 million shares of Rite Aid stock.