Canada has a diverse group of ultra-wealthy individuals who have made fortunes in various industries, from media to pharmaceuticals.
While the Canadian economy may not be as large as that of its southern neighbor, the United States, or other nations around the globe, it has nonetheless produced an impressive number of billionaires and high-net-worth individuals.
Many of Canada's richest people have achieved their wealth through entrepreneurship, resilience, and the ability to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. Some have established themselves as industry giants, while others remain relatively under the radar despite their massive fortunes.
These individuals have built successful businesses, created jobs, and developed technologies that have impacted Canadian society and the economy.
Investing and corporate acquisitions have also played a significant role in the wealth accumulation of Canada's most wealthy people. Strategic business moves and a keen eye for opportunity have allowed these individuals to accumulate vast wealth, solidifying their positions as some of Canada's most well-known and respected business leaders.
Many Canadians wonder who the richest people in Canada are. In this article, we'll highlight some of the richest.
Who are the richest Canadians?
- David Thomson
- David Cheriton
- Changpeng Zhao
- Anthony Von Mandl
- Jim Pattison
- Galen Weston Jr.
- Joseph Tsai
- Alain Bouchard
- Arthur Irving
- Chip Wilson
- Mark Scheinberg
- Rogers Family
- Saputo Family
- Leonid Boguslavsky
- Lawrence Stroll
- Garrett Camp
- Jacques D'Amours
- Terry Matthews
- Chamath Palihapitiya
Among Canadian billionaires is David Thomson, Canada's richest man, retaining his position at the top in 2023. As the chairman of Thomson Reuters, a multinational media and information company, he possesses significant wealth.
In 2023, his fortune was estimated to be around $55.9 billion, and it continues to soar along with many of the world's billionaires. The Thomson family has long held a prominent role in Canadian business, with their influence in the media industry remaining unrivalled.
David Cheriton, a Stanford University professor emeritus and highly successful entrepreneur, ranks among Canada's wealthiest individuals.
He is a computer science professor best known for being an early investor in Google and co-founding Arista Networks. In addition, Cheriton has been involved in numerous tech ventures, including Granite Systems, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1996.
By 2023, the "professor billionaire" has grown his fortune significantly, estimated at $11.7 billion.
Changpeng Zhao, widely known as "CZ," is the founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.
Born in China and having spent most of his upbringing with Canadian citizenship, CZ's net worth has skyrocketed due to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies. His wealth is estimated to be $10.2 billion.
I would expect his net worth to be one of the more volatile on this list, as crypto assets are currently very much in their infancy and prone to wild fluctuations.
Anthony Von Mandl
Anthony Von Mandl, the founder of the Mark Anthony Group, is well-known for creating the popular alcoholic beverages White Claw Hard Seltzer and Mike's Hard Lemonade.
Von Mandl's business ventures span wine, spirits, and ready-to-drink products. In 2023, his estimated net worth is $10 billion.
I was particularly impressed with the net worth of Von Mandl, primarily because I wouldn't expect someone involved in the alcohol space like that to be worth so much.
Jim Pattison, often called Canada's Warren Buffett, founded the Jim Pattison Group, which operates in various industries such as advertising, automotive, media, food, and including owning Guinness World Records.
He owns one of the largest western based media companies and has worked with a multitude of major organizations including Apple, Home Depot, and Amazon.
Pattison's name is well known. Many recognize the name from the billboard labels found across the country, and his wealth has consistently grown over the years. In 2023, his net worth was estimated at $9.4 billion.
Galen Weston Jr.
Galen Weston Jr., the executive chairman and president of George Weston Limited, represents Canada's Weston family.
Their company specializes in food processing, distribution, and retail, owning names like Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, and No Frills. Galen Weston Jr.'s net worth is estimated to be close to the $8.7 billion mark in 2023.
His wealth is often one of the most controversial in the country, as many see the Weston's benefitting and profiting off the basic necessities of Canadians. This isn't necessarily just Weston, but all grocery companies here in Canada.
Joseph Tsai, co-founder of Alibaba Group, is one of the wealthiest Canadians in 2023. Born in Taiwan and raised in Canada, Tsai strongly connects to his Canadian roots.
He joined Alibaba Group in 1999 and has since become one of the wealthiest individuals in the country, most recently Alibaba executive vice chairman up until 2023, then becoming Chairmen. Alibaba operates similarly to other digital hubs that use a physical network, such as the mail system, to get products from sellers to consumers.
Joseph Tsai's interests include sports, as he owns the Brooklyn Nets basketball team. In 2023, his net worth was estimated at $7.7 billion.
Alain Bouchard, the founder of Alimentation Couche-Tard, one of the world's largest convenience store operators, is a prominent name among the richest Canadians.
Starting with one convenience store in the early 1980s, Bouchard's wealth has steadily increased, reaching an estimated $6.8 billion in 2023.
Couche-Tard itself has also made many shareholders rich, realizing exponential returns from when the company initially started trading. It has now established itself as one of the best blue-chip stocks in the country, and still realizes strong growth to this day.
Estimated at $5.9 billion, Arthur Irving amassed his wealth through the Irving Group of Companies, a conglomerate established by his father, K.C. Irving.
Their success stemmed from oil refining and distribution ventures, notably with Irving Oil, which became a major player in the petroleum industry. Additionally, the family expanded into forestry, shipbuilding, transportation, and real estate, creating a diverse portfolio of businesses.
Arthur Irving inherited and managed these enterprises, further growing the family's fortune. His wealth primarily originates from these various sectors, and the Irving Group remains a significant economic force in Canada's Eastern provinces.
Chip Wilson, the founder of athletic apparel company Lululemon Athletica, is a seasoned entrepreneur who has amassed significant wealth.
His endeavors in creating high-quality yoga and athletic wear garnered great success, allowing him to join the ranks of Canada's wealthiest people. In 2023, his net worth was approximated at $5.6 billion.
Lululemon was a stock that originally traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. However, the company delisted because of a lack of interest and volume and instead went to the US exchanges. For this reason, many investors sometimes forget that Lululemon is a Canadian company.
Mark Scheinberg made his estimated $5.2 billion dollar fortune primarily through his involvement in the online poker industry.
He co-founded PokerStars, one of the world's largest online poker platforms, in 2001 with his father, Isai Scheinberg. PokerStars revolutionized online poker, attracting millions of players worldwide and becoming a dominant force in the industry.
Mark Scheinberg played a crucial role in the company's growth, expanding its services and user base. In 2014, the Scheinberg family sold the stake in PokerStars to Amaya Gaming Group (now known as The Stars Group) for billions of dollars.
Mark's wealth largely derives from his successful tenure at PokerStars and subsequent business ventures.
The Rogers Family is one of the richest in Canada, with a net worth of approximately $4.7B. Rogers Communications, which initially started out as a radio broadcast company, has expanded into much more than that.
Not only do they provide telecommunication services for millions of Canadians, but their media division owns television networks, sponsors sports arenas, and much more.
The Canadian telecommunication industry is one many Canadians think of as a legal monopoly, with 3 of the main companies owning over 93% of the market share. So, this type of wealth accumulation in the sector is not surprising.
The Saputo family's wealth stems from the dairy processing company Saputo Inc., founded by Emanuele (Lino) Saputo in 1954.
The company has since expanded globally and remains a leading name in the dairy industry. By 2023, the Saputo family's fortune was estimated to have a net worth of $4.3 billion.
There is no doubt that if you've ever bought a cheese, yogurt, or even milk product, you've likely bought one from Saputo.
Leonid Boguslavsky is a Russian businessman who amassed his wealth primarily through investments in the technology and venture capital sectors.
He co-founded the venture capital firm RTP Global, formerly known as ru-Net, which has been involved in various successful tech investments, including Yandex, Russia's leading search engine, and Delivery Hero, a global food delivery company.
Boguslavsky's early investments in internet and technology start-ups, particularly during the dot-com boom, contributed significantly to his wealth, estimated at $4.2 billion.
His expertise in identifying promising tech companies and providing them with funding has made him a prominent figure in the Russian and global tech investment communities.
Lawrence Stroll, a Canadian billionaire, part-owner, and executive chairman of Aston Martin, made his fortune primarily through his involvement in the fashion and luxury retail industry.
His initial wealth came from his investments in fashion brands. Stroll co-founded the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation, a renowned fashion brand, and played a crucial role in its success.
His net worth is estimated at $3.6 billion in 2023. He also invested in other high-end fashion labels like Michael Kors and helped them grow. Over the years, Stroll's savvy investments and business acumen in the fashion and luxury sectors have added to his wealth.
Garrett Camp, estimated to be worth $3.5 billion in 2023, is a Canadian entrepreneur best known as one of the co-founders of Uber, the global ride-sharing and transportation network company.
Camp conceived the idea for Uber and collaborated with Travis Kalanick to launch the platform in 2009. Uber revolutionized how people commute, and Camp's involvement in its early stages contributed significantly to his wealth.
In addition to Uber, Camp co-founded StumbleUpon, a web discovery platform eBay later acquired.
Jacques D'Amours is best known as a co-founder of Desjardins Group, one of the largest financial institutions in Canada. In 1970, D'Amours and his colleagues played a pivotal role in merging several regional credit unions to create a vast cooperative network, providing financial services to individuals and communities.
Over time, Desjardins Group expanded into banking, insurance, and investments. His estimated net worth is $2.5 billion and his leadership at Desjardins Group contributed significantly to his financial success.
Terry Matthews, a Welsh-Canadian entrepreneur, built his wealth primarily through his involvement in the telecommunications industry.
He co-founded Mitel Networks in 1972, a telecommunications company initially focusing on manufacturing PBX equipment. Under Matthews, Mitel grew into a global voice and data communications solutions provider.
He later founded Newbridge Networks, a data networking company, which was also highly successful. Matthews' ventures were at the forefront of technological innovation, and his ability to identify and capitalize on emerging trends in telecommunications increased his wealth, estimated at $1.6 billion in 2023.
He has continued to invest in various technology start-ups, further diversifying his portfolio.
Chamath Palihapitiya is a Sri Lankan-Canadian-American entrepreneur and venture capitalist who accumulated his wealth through various successful ventures, and his net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion in 2023.
He initially worked at AOL and Facebook, playing a key role in user growth and engagement. Palihapitiya later founded Social Capital, a venture capital firm that invested in numerous tech companies, including Slack and Box.
He also conducted several high-profile SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) deals, merging them with companies like Virgin Galactic and Opendoor.
These endeavors, coupled with his investments in start-ups and forward-thinking approach, have propelled him to become a figure in the technology and investment space.
Net worth and industry
Now that we know who the richest Canadians are, lets discuss what industries make for the richest Canadians. We have a particular niche of industries that tend to provide strong cash flows and very high barriers to entry here in Canada, and as a result those who got involved with them early are often some of the richest folk on the planet.
The Canadian telecom industry has been a significant source of wealth for many of the country's wealthiest individuals.
For example, the founders and executives of major companies such as Rogers Communications and Bell Canada have amassed huge net worths thanks to the success of their telecommunications enterprises.
Real estate industry
Real estate has historically been a lucrative industry in Canada, and many of the country's wealthiest individuals have made their fortunes in this sector.
Top real estate moguls, like the Weston and Sobey families, have accumulated net worths in the billions. They have been responsible for the development of:
- Large-scale residential areas
- Commercial properties
- Shopping centres
These real estate tycoons have shaped the Canadian urban landscape and continue influencing the industry.
Regarding investments, some of Canada's wealthiest individuals have made their fortunes through savvy financial moves and strategic investment decisions. Key investors, such as Prem Watsa, founder and CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings, have utilized their investment expertise to accumulate substantial net worths.
Some of these prominent investor's portfolios include:
- Stocks and bonds
- Venture capital
- Start-ups in various industries
These wealthy Canadians continue demonstrating their financial knowledge, maintaining and growing their net worths through successful investments in various fields.
Insights and analysis
Canada's richest individuals showcase a diverse range of industries and backgrounds. Most of the wealthiest Canadians have accumulated fortunes through various sectors, such as media, retail, technology, and natural resources.
The media and telecommunications industries have created a significant portion of wealth for a number of these individuals. For example, the Thomson family, who controls the Thomson Reuters corporation and is at the top of this list, has consistently been one of the richest families in Canada. Similarly, the Rogers family, founders of Rogers Communications, maintain a strong presence on the list.
Retail and consumer goods have also played a crucial role in generating significant wealth among the richest Canadians. Figures such as Galen Weston, the late owner of supermarket chain Loblaws and luxury department store Selfridges Group, and the Saputo family, responsible for international dairy company Saputo Inc., have both established prominent positions in their respective industries.
The technology and innovative sectors cannot be underestimated in contributing to the financial success of some of Canada's wealthiest individuals. Key players include Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX; Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, co-founders of BlackBerry Limited; and Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify.
Moreover, the natural resources industry has been instrumental in generating wealth for many Canadians. For instance, the Irving family, with significant holdings in the oil and forestry sectors, is among the richest families in the country.
Other notable figures include Eric Sprott, a prominent investor in the mining sector, and Clayton Riddell, founder and executive chairman of natural gas producer Paramount Resources.
Despite the diversity in industries represented, philanthropy is a common thread among many of Canada's wealthiest individuals. Numerous members of this elite group are known for their generous contributions to various charities and non-profit organizations, further enriching Canada's social, cultural, and educational landscape.