It was a very good year

...for Canada's richest, who keep getting richer

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

Intro | Earth movers & deal makers | Lords of land & drug czars | The informers & high flyers | The foodies & shop men | Deal kings & the producers | “My favourite thing”

Over the past few years, the rich might have thought their wealth was going to the dogs, thanks to the tech carnage and post-9/11 jitters. But 2003 was anything but a pooch: the collective wealth of those on our exclusive Rich 100 ranking increased by 8.5% in 2003, to $120.5 billion from $111.1 billion (though it doesn't top the $128.8 billion they were worth in 2000). Sixty-seven of the country's richest saw their wealth increase, and five others managed to get back on the list, such as hotelier Isadore Sharp, who squeaked in at No. 100. (See “Luxury in a dangerous time.”) We even found three new additions: Power Corp.'s Robert Gratton, and brothers Victor and Richard Li.

It's been a very good year for the Rich 100. In 1999, you needed at least $235 million to get on the list; this year's minimum of $311 million bumped off a few alumni. Canada's richest lumberjacks had a tough year, dropping 19%. But the resource sector jumped 79%, with Robert Friedland of Ivanhoe Mines vaulting into the billionaire's club with a 250% increase.

A word about methodology. Our hard-working researchers looked at proxies, insider trading reports and news clippings to figure out what Canada's wealthiest own; they also talked to industry analysts, and chatted up the rich — though many don't like to talk about their wealth, let alone see their names in print.>


A lot of hard work goes into producing the Rich 100. Our researchers — this year it was Alex Mlynek, Calvin Leung and Rasha Mourtada — spent countless hours poring over proxies, insider trading reports, news clippings and any other available documents trying to figure out how Canada's wealthiest stack up. We start off with a list of about 150 names of people we think might make the cut. Usually that means they are worth at least $200 million, though the minimum value for getting on the Rich 100 has been creeping up. From there, candidates are valued using the following criteria:

1. Members of the Rich 100 must be citizens of Canada.

2. Publicly traded securities are valued at the market close on Oct. 24, 2003.

3. Privately owned companies are valued using a multiple of cash flows, earnings or sales. If these figures aren't available, we look to industry experts for their estimates, or we compare private companies to similar public companies. Debt, whether known or estimated, is subtracted from the value.

4. Real estate values are based on estimates per square foot, less debt.

5. Where companies or shares have been sold, we apply capital gains taxes that are specific to that region.

6. Where assets are held by families or trusts, we focus on who controls the wealth.

7. We intentionally use conservative estimates of private investments. It's virtually impossible to determine the full extent of these holdings for every member. It's safe to assume the Rich 100 are worth more than the stated amount.

8. Sometimes we rely on estimates provided by the Rich 100 candidates themselves, although we attempt to independently verify their information.

9. Occasionally, new information comes to light that can affect our estimate of an individual's wealth.