Enjoying life in the fast lane

Inside the glamorous world of hip movers and shakers.

The rich 100: 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

The rich list | Fortune & fame | Life in the fast lane | Arts patrons | Newcomers | Silver spoons | The invisibles

Canada's wealthy are, for the most part, a quiet bunch, discreetly enjoying their good fortune out of the spotlight. But for a small group of Rich 100 jet-setters, kicking it with stars or enjoying fast-paced hobbies are part of a life well lived. After all, what good is money if you don't whoop it up a little?

Fashion whiz Lawrence Stroll, for instance, lives life in the fast lane–literally. In May, he took his $633,000 Ferrari 360GT for a spin at the Six Hours of Mont-Tremblant car race, an annual contest that requires lightning-quick reflexes and superior stamina. During the event, teams of drivers tore around the track at speeds well over 140 kilometres per hour. Stroll's Falcon Racing team finished sixth in a field of 11–not exactly a stellar performance, but an improvement over 2003 when the team failed to finish.

The Westons, perhaps Canada's closest thing to royalty, often get the chance to hobnob with the real thing. Earlier this year, Hilary Weston, former lieutenant-governor of Ontario, and the always-dapper Galen Weston, king of the Weston and Loblaw empires, played host to the Duke of Edinburgh at one of Toronto's classiest venues, the Carlu. The photogenic pair often party for a purpose, and this occasion was no different. The black-tie affair celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a distinction bestowed upon young Canadians who choose “exciting, constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time.”

As for Peter Nygård, the lion-maned clothing mogul put his larger-than-life personality and fashion sense into judging the 2004 Caribbean Flava Top Model Search, an event loosely based on America's Next Top Model. Nygård worked closely with other fellow judges, such as supermodel Beverly Peele, to narrow the group to 15. For the final stage of the competition, the fashion executive invited everyone to Nygård Cay, his legendary 150,000-square-foot Bahamian estate. At the end of the evening, Rukenya Demeritte, a five-foot, eleven-inch contestant from the PTG Modeling Agency, came out on top, gracefully walking away with the title of Bahamas' Top Model.

Money, of course, doesn't buy happiness. But it can buy possibilities. And these bon vivants show us how sweet life can be.