The Rich 100: Canada's wealthiest people

Our list of the 100 most affluent Canadians, now with more billionaires than millionaires.

1. Thomson Family
Net worth: 25.35 billion | Up 4% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 1

In 1934, Roy Thomson bought his first Canadian newspaper, the Timmins Press in Ontario, and he didn’t stop there. Four years after his death in 1976, Thomson Newspapers’ total daily circulation in Canada had passed one million. Two generations later, the family’s media presence is set to expand again. In May, Reuters agreed to be taken over by Thomson Corp. (TSX: TOC) for $17.6 billion. The combined company, Thomson-Reuters, will unite two of the leading financial information data providers.

2. Edward (Ted) Rogers Jr.
Net worth: $7.6 billion | Up 67% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 4

The president and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI.B)focused on the company’s growth in 2007, guarding its market share carefully. In April, Rogers took issue with Quebecor Media Inc., which argued that new market entrants should have advantages in auctions for wireless frequencies. In the first three quarters of 2007, Rogers’ net income was up more than 50% from last year. (See “It was a very good year…,” page 56.)

3. Galen Weston
Net worth: $7.27 billion | Up 2% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 2

As his son revamps Loblaw Cos. Ltd. (TSX: L), the country’s largest grocery chain, the president and chairman of parent company George Weston Ltd. (TSX: WN) has seen falling profits reflecting the high restructuring costs. But while earnings were down in the first and second quarters of 2007, the company’s sales edged up slightly.

4. Paul Desmarais Sr.
Net worth: $5.64 billion | Up 28% | Location: Montreal | 06 rank: 5

The Power Corp. (TSX: POW) patriarch and his family were put at the centre of the world’s third-largest power utility in September with the merger of Suez SA and Gaz de France SA. The power play was helped along by loud support from Albert Frère, the family’s European partner and vice-chairman of Suez, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The new company, GDF Suez, counts Groupe Bruxelles Lambert — an investment company controlled by the Desmarais and Frère families — among its top shareholders

5. James (J. K.), Arthur, John (Jack) Irving
Net worth: $5.3 billion | Up 3% | Location: Saint John, N.B. | 06 rank: 3

The autumn court battle between the Irving family’s Brunswick News and its former employee William Kenneth Langdon, ex-publisher of the Woodstock Bugle-Observer, has prompted politicians to call for an examination into the Irvings’ New Brunswick media empire. Brunswick News owns all the dailies and most weeklies in the province and in October effectively attempted — but failed — to quash Langdon’s efforts to start competitor Carleton Free Press. Due to a succession impasse, the family is reportedly moving to break up its 125-year-old empire, consisting of forestry, retail, trucking, media and energy properties.

6. James (Jimmy) Pattison
Net worth: $4.52 billion | Up 4% | Location: Vancouver | 06 rank: 6

The head of the Jim Pattison Group was part of a shareholder alliance representing more than 50% of Canfor Corp.’s (TSX: CFP) ownership that voted for a mutually agreed slate of directors at the forest product company’s AGM this year. In the months following announcement of the voting alliance, a string of resignations from Canfor included the CEO, CFO and a senior vice-president.

7. Jeff Skoll
Net worth: $4.48 billion | Up 14% | Location: Palo Alto, California | 06 rank: 7

First Al Gore, now Jimmy Carter. On the heels of the success of its film An Inconvenient Truth, Skoll’s production company, Participant Productions, has released Jimmy Carter Man from Plains, a documentary that follows the controversial promotion trail of the former U.S. president’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Skoll was eBay’s (NASDAQ: EBAY)first employee. His new company aims to bring social change through media and also has made its mark on the films Syriana, Darfur Now and North Country.

8. Michael Lazaridis
Net worth: $4.36 billion | Up 157% | Location: Waterloo, Ontario | 06 rank: 24

After it was revealed that stock options had been backdated at Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX: RIM) this year, co-CEO Lazaridis, alongside his counterpart Jim Balsillie, volunteered to contribute up to $5 million out of his own pocket to cover costs related to the review and restatement of earnings. The backdating revelation didn’t stop RIM’s fiscal 2007 profit from increasing almost 70% from last year.

9. James Balsillie
Net worth: $4.09 billion | Up 153% | Location: Waterloo, Ontario | 06 rank: 25

Balsillie stepped down as Research In Motion (TSX: RIM) chairman in March and took the blame for the accounting errors — dating back to 1996 — discovered after an internal probe into the company’s option granting program. The investigation, which found evidence of backdating, will result in a US$250-million restatement of earnings. Still, Balsillie jumped into the Rich 100’s Top 10; this year RIM broke into the Chinese market and paid about $30 million for a building and surrounding land to expand its presence in the Ottawa area.

10. Bernard (Barry) Sherman
Net worth: $3.61 billion | Up 12% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 8

In January, a group of Sherman’s cousins launched a $1.5-billion lawsuit against the founder of generic drug maker Apotex Inc., claiming he violated an agreement dating back to the ’60s when Sherman bought their father’s drug firm. The suit alleges the agreement would give them all a stake in Apotex. Meanwhile, Sherman installed his son Jonathon as president and CEO of Steelback Brewery when business partner Frank D’Angelo sold his majority stake. Steelback recently gained court protection from creditors because of what Jonathon calls a “liquidity crisis.”