41. Michael DeGroote
Net worth: $1.23 billion | Up 6% | Location: Bermuda | 06 rank: 33
Businessman Gary DeGroote seems to be following in the footsteps of his father, Michael — the former Laidlaw Inc. CEO turned philanthropist — with a $5-million pledge in November 2006 toward Burlington, Ont.’s proposed performing arts centre. He’ll still have a long way to go, though, before he tops his dad’s record-breaking $105-million donation in 2003 to Hamilton’s McMaster University, which named the DeGroote School of Business after him. The younger DeGroote co-chairs the fundraising committee for the $28-million centre.
42. Muzzo Family
Net worth: $1.2 billion | Up 20% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 46
Since his death in 2005 after more than 50 years in construction and development, Marco Muzzo has been honoured with green spaces dedicated to him and his achievements. Measurement Park, in Toronto’s east end, officially opened this past summer with Muzzo’s family in attendance. The Marco Muzzo Memorial Woods and Park opened in October near the Erin Mills community in Mississauga he largely developed.
43. Dennis (Chip) Wilson
Net worth: $1.18 billion | N/A | Location: Vancouver | 06 rank: N/A
There’s nothing downward facing about Lululemon Athletica (TSX: LLL) founder Dennis (Chip) Wilson’s net worth since taking his yogawear retail business public in July — the initial public offering price of US$18 doubled almost immediately after the company listed on the TSX and Nasdaq. Wilson may enjoy the spiritual enlightenment that becoming a devotee of yoga has brought to his life, but he’s a savvy enough businessman to remain Lululemon’s largest shareholder, owning more than 25 million shares, or 38% of the company.
44. Guy Laliberté
Net worth: $1.18 billion | Up 6% | Location: Montreal | 06 rank: 34
The founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil was named the 2007 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year. He gained more global exposure when he launched One Drop, a foundation dedicated to worldwide access to clean water, and contributed $100 million over 25 years to the cause.
45. Bob Gaglardi
Net worth: $1.16 billion | 48% | Location: Vancouver | 06 rank: 64
Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites, the chain run by Gaglardi’s son Tom, celebrated its 40th anniversary by launching an upscale line of properties, Sandman Signature Hotels and Resorts. Two of the new hotels opened in Toronto and Vancouver this summer, adding to the 32 properties that parent company Northland Properties Ltd. already operates in Canada.
46. Peter Gilgan
Net worth: $1.14 billion | Up 13% | Location: Oakville, Ontario | 06 rank: 43
In September, developer Gilgan’s Mattamy Homes opened its innovative “whole home manufacturing” plant in Milton, Ont. The plant will produce about 250 homes per year. Each home takes about 10 days to make and leaves the plant complete with cabinetry, flooring, painting, plumbing and electrical fixtures. A transporter moves each home to its concrete foundation where it receives brickwork and utility connections.
47. Ronald Southern
Net worth: $1.14 billion | Up 21% | Location: Calgary | 06 rank: 49
The chairman of ATCO Ltd. (TSX: ACO.PR.A) was officially promoted to companion of the Order of Canada in May. Dubbed a “business icon” and “benefactor who has few parallels,” Southern was first inducted in 1986 and was awarded this latest honour for a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit in service to Canada and humanity at large.
48. Mitchell Goldhar
Net worth: $1.13 billion | Up 34% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 57
In April, Goldhar’s privately held development company, SmartCentres Inc., sold two of its still-under-construction shopping centres in Oregon to Calloway REIT (TSX: CWT.UN). Goldhar is chief shareholder of Calloway. The small sale is part of a larger plan to slowly expand Calloway south into a larger and more competitive market.
49. Ronald (Ron) Joyce
Net worth: $1.1 billion | Up 16% | Location: Vancouver | 06 rank: 48
Joyce made headlines in early November when he walked away from his private jet after it crashed on the runway of the Nova Scotia golf resort he owns. In his recent memoir, Always Fresh: The Untold Story of Tim Hortons by the Man Who Created a Canadian Empire, Joyce admits his 1996 sellout to Wendy’s International Inc. (NYSE: WEN) didn’t go as planned and his failure to bring an NHL franchise to his hometown, Hamilton, Ont., still stings. But, still intent on improving the place where he got his start, Joyce donated $10 million to McMaster University last summer to help build a new campus in nearby Burlington.
50. Joseph and Ted Burnett
Net worth: $1.08 billion| Up 3% | Location: Toronto | 06 rank: 42
Joseph and Ted’s father, Chaim Burnett, started the family business back in the ’40s, trucking fresh produce to Sudbury nickel miners. The privately held Burnac Corp. of today has diversified to include commercial and residential real estate development, wholesale produce and a retail jewelry shop run by Joseph’s daughter, Gail. Completion of the 60%-sold Toronto condo development, Madison Avenue Lofts, is scheduled for fall 2008. Also under construction is a 125,000-square-foot distribution centre, which will consolidate the company’s produce operations.