#1. Thomson Family
Major holdings: Thomson Reuters, Woodbridge Co.
Third-generation CEO David Thomson may be the figurehead and architect of the US$17.2 billion merger with Reuters in 2008, but the Thomsons’ wealth is spread between several family members. David Thomson owns 14% of the family’s holding company Woodbridge, while Canada’s richest woman, Sherry Brydson (Roy Thomson’s granddaughter), holds 23%, with the rest divided between other cousins. Patriarch Roy Thomson started his corporate empire in 1931 with a single radio station, and son Ken pruned the firm’s interests to escape what he presciently considered to be a cyclical newspaper advertising market. David Thomson is not resting on the laurels of his forebears. “I wish to prolong those inspired moments in life and see them continually manifested in all areas of endeavour,” he told Peter C. Newman in a rare interview. “My search is always to create new wealth.”