Canada's [Billionaire] Hermit Kings

Whether they are worth $200 million or $2 billion, they all share one thing: They would rather we weren't talking about them.

But curiosity got the better of us. How did these individuals amass so much wealth while drawing so little attention? Who hired a PR manager just to keep his name out of the paper? Which real estate scion had a taste for Ferrari Testarossas? Who had his identity stolen and who plans to have his body cryogenically frozen? Inside, everything you need to know—at least everything we could dig up—about the most reclusive figures in Canadian business  

Joseph Burnett
Burnac Corp.
»Lives Toronto  »Worth $1.08 billion

It's easy to understand why Joseph Burnett prefers to keep a low profile. His nine-year court battle on tax evasion charges was one of the lengthiest and costliest in Canadian history. By the time he was cleared of all charges in 1991, the press had lovingly detailed his taste in fast cars (a $350,000 Ferrari Testarossa) and faster jets (his Learjet); big boats (a 50-foot cruiser anchored in Florida) and bigger homes (a 17,000-square-foot home near Toronto's Bridle Path). For the lawyer-turned-tycoon, the attention was just too much. Burnett and his brother, Ted, went quiet in the 1990s, only popping up from time to time with a million-dollar charity donation. Burnac, the family's private holding company, got rolling in the 1940s when Joseph and Ted's father invested $300 in a pickup truck to run fruit and veggies from Toronto wholesalers to Sudbury's miners. That business morphed into a grocery chain—Super Carnaval—that was sold to Métro-Richelieu. By the late-1960s, the family was building shopping malls all over small-town Ontario. Joe Burnett also added construction financing and financial services to the mix. He's had occasional dust-ups with partners and regulators, but he always comes out on top. At a meeting with other grocery wholesalers, Burnett once offered this as a warning: "There will be no umbrellas, and you're going to get pissed on."
» Castle Burnett hides out in his three-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot mansion in Toronto's exclusive Forest Hill enclave. Though he purchased the property for $1.1 million in 1994, the renovated property is now valued, conservatively, at $5.8 million.
» Before he was king In his teens, Burnett ran a profitable business placing vending machines in Northern Ontario, netting him $1,000 a week while he attended school.
» Unwanted attention The Burnett family has been investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice, Canada Revenue, the Ontario Securities Commission, the OPP, the RCMP and the FBI. Each time, Joe Burnett has emerged unscathed.
» Noblesse oblige Burnett has been known to contribute to the United Jewish Appeal Federation and Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as the Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals. He also sits as a director of the Baycrest Centre Foundation, a fundraising group for geriatric care.
»Heirs Burnett has two sons, Lorne and Sheldon; his daughter, Gail, runs the family-owned Royal de Versailles jewellery store.
»Recluse factor MEDIUM During his tax evasion trial in the 1980s, Burnett occasionally granted interview requests. Once the trial was over, however, he clammed up.

Joseph Kruger
Kruger Inc.
»Lives Montreal »Worth $1 billion

For three generations, the Kruger family was the solid oak of Canada's pulp and paper industry. Led by Joseph Kruger II, however, this generation has threatened to tear the dynasty apart. Founded by Joseph Kruger I in 1904, Kruger Inc. specialized in the manufacture of fine paper. When his sons, Gene and Bernard, took over in 1928, the firm expanded into newsprint, tissue and paperboard. Today, Kruger Inc. has operations in Venezuela, Colombia, England and the U.S. Though the company is perhaps best known for its Scott Paper brand, it has recently spread its tentacles into hydroelectricity and wind-farm projects. The litigious era of the Kruger story began in 1975, when Gene's son, Joseph II—now the company's CEO—took over a Panamanian affiliate, cutting Bernard and his children out of the profits. The protracted dispute settled down in 1993, after Joseph II paid settlements totalling $136 million.
»Corporate crown jewels In 1997, Kruger Inc. purchased Scott Paper Ltd, along with the ScotTowel brand (now SpongeTowel).
»Castles The family owns a home on the outskirts of Westmount. On weekends, they retire to their country place in the Laurentian Mountains.
»Noblesse oblige The family regularly donates to Irish causes such as Concordia University's Canadian-Irish Studies Foundation.
»Unwanted attention In 1983, Revenue Canada investigators seized 160 boxes of documents belonging to Kruger Inc., alleging that Gene and Joseph Kruger had evaded taxes by falsely declaring themselves to be residents of Panama in 1980 and 1981. The Krugers' lawyers quickly had the seizure quashed in court.
»Blue-blood quotient Kruger was known to vacation at an Irish castle he had inherited, where he hunted with the local gentry.
»Who he runs with The far more gregarious Brian Tobin, who sits on Kruger's board.
»Trappings of wealth Kruger escapes to his country hideaway by private helicopter.
»Recluse factor MEDIUM-HIGH Some say that Joseph Kruger has avoided taking his 10,000-employee empire public, in part, because he finds the idea of addressing shareholders unappealing.

Marcel Adams
Iberville Developments Ltd.
Lives Montreal Worth $1.1 billion

Born Marcel Abramovich 86 years ago in Romania, Adams, as he is known today, is quick to make a deal and even quicker to hang up on reporters curious about his estimated $1.1-billion empire (we called: he hung up). A Holocaust survivor, Adams was interned in forced labour camps from 1941 to 1944, before escaping to Turkey. Following that, he fought in Israel's War of Independence, before landing in Montreal in 1951. He had hoped to work as a tanner, just like his father, but ended up buying animal hides over the phone in Quebec City. He shortened his name to Adams, he has said, because his boss wanted to save on long distance charges. Adams saved up and, in 1955, purchased property on Quebec City's picturesque Grande-Allée. By 1959, he opened his first mall. He has since acquired almost eight million square feet of commercial real estate in Canada and the U.S. Any regrets? Adams once said that he wished he could have attended university.
» Castles Adams moved from his home in Westmount to a luxe condo on Montreal's Sherbrooke Street. The family has a country estate in the Laurentians.
» Noblesse oblige In 1986, Adams helped launch the Marcel and Annie Adams Institute for Business Management Information Systems at Tel Aviv University. More recently, Adams vowed to erect a bronze statue saluting immigrants to Quebec City.
» Heirs Daughter Linda, a lawyer, is married to McGill history professor Gil Troy. Sylvan, Adams's son, is president of Iberville Developments.
» Words from the throne Explaining why he rented his office space instead of owning it, Adams quipped: "Because I'm paying less than I would charge myself."
» Recluse factor MODERATE Adams has occasionally granted interviews to the French media.

Fred and Ron Mannix
The Mancal Group
Lives Calgary Worth $2.15 billion
"You run the business as if it were a family, and you run the family like a business." That was Ron Mannix's advice last June to any future tycoons who might be reading the University of Alberta's alumni magazine. They were possibly the most public words spoken by anyone in the family, and they offer some insight into how the Mannix clan managed to cobble together their empire while staying away from the public's prying eyes. The Mannix family story begins in the early 1900s, when Frederick Stephen Mannix, a Manitoba farm boy, founded a construction company in Calgary. (One version of the tale has the Mannix patriarch starting the company after he won earth-moving equipment in a poker game.) Under the guidance of his son, Frederick Charles Mannix (Fred II), the company flourished, growing to include interests in coal, oil and construction. Since then, the family-owned Mancal Group has been involved in everything from building subway lines in Toronto and Montreal to pipelines throughout Western Canada. It was also Fred II who built the family's reputation for reclusivity, prompting one wag to suggest that he was "the closest thing Alberta has had to a Howard Hughes." These days, Mancal Group is run by Fred Charles's two sons: Fred III, now in his early 60s, and Ron, in his late 50s. In 1997, the brothers sold most of the family's major energy assets for $2 billion. The Mancal Group is still in business today. Its energy arm has a minority stake in a sizable natural gas deposit near Calgary.
»Noblesse oblige In 1998, the family gave away $100 million through the Carthy Foundation, a charity named  for the McCarthy branch of the family. At that point, it was the largest cash donation in Canadian history. The brothers subsequently made a rare public appearance, looking, according to one report, "distinctly uncomfortable" in the spotlight.
»Blue-blood quotient Polo is a favourite pastime of the Mannix clan, and the most recent generation has made its mark in the upper ranks of the sport. In 2000, at just 16 years of age, Fred IV was named to Canada's national team.
»Honorifics Fred III is a supporter of the Alberta Militia Society, a little-known organization that urges continued vigilance in our national defence. He was also an honorary colonel in the Calgary Highlanders, where, before retiring in 1994, he was known affectionately as "Colonel Fred." Both Ron and Fred have been named to the Order of Canada—Ron in 2005; Fred this year.
»Recluse factor HIGH Peter C. Newman wrote in his autobiography that Fred Charles Mannix was the only Alberta tycoon he couldn't rope into an interview. Legend has it that the family docked its PR manager's salary every time the Mannix name appeared in print.
»Heirs to the fortune Fred Mannix has at least four children, including Fred IV; Ron has five.

Amin Lalji
The Larco Group of Companies
Lives Vancouver Worth $884 million

Until recently, few people outside of Aminmohamed Lalji's inner circle knew he even had a first name. He was often referred to in the plural, as in the Laljis or the Lalji family. An honest mistake, given his history and his penchant for remaining in the shadows (see "When we called," below). In the 1970s, Lalji and his family were driven out of Uganda when dictator Idi Amin gave the country's 50,000 Asians 90 days to leave the country. After landing in Vancouver, Aminmohamed and his brothers, Mansoor and Shiraz, established themselves as solid—if silent—property developers in the Vancouver area and across North America. Shiraz eventually resettled in London, England, while Aminmohamed became the principal of Larco Group of Cos., one of the largest land developers in the Lower Mainland. Larco specializes in hotel and retail properties, though it also has a significant stake in self-store facilities in and around Vancouver.
»Sightings At a recent event hosted by Hong Kong Bank of Canada deputy CEO Yousef Nasr, Lalji was spotted rubbing shoulders with prominent members of Vancouver's South Asian community. Among the attendees: Vancouver South MP Ujjal Dosanjh and MLA and former B.C. Supreme Court justice Wally Oppal. For the most part, though, Lalji's wife, Nazmeen, represents the family at public events.
»Crown jewels In 1990, Lalji purchased the Park Royal Shopping Centre, an upscale mall in West Vancouver, for an estimated $500 million. At the time, it was the biggest real estate transaction in the province's history. He also owns Whistler Village Centre, at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.
»Unwanted attention A 1991 civil suit involving Lalji's sister, Gulistan Shariff, suggests that he keeps his distance from his own family. Shariff had been in a car accident while working for Larco's Maple Leaf Property Management. During court proceedings, Amin Lalji noted that he had little social contact with his sister, "their relationship being a working one."
»When we called The receptionist said she was not at liberty to disclose information about Lalji, not even his title.
»Recluse factor MEDIUM-HIGH Lalji doesn't talk publicly about his investments. In late 2001, erroneous reports surfaced that Larco was purchasing a Las Vegas hotel and casino. The company—which was actually consulting on the deal—threatened to cease its involvement.

Michael Gold
YM Inc.
»Lives Toronto »Worth We don't know

As the man behind such successful mall brands as Stitches, Sirens, Siblings, Suzy Shier and Bluenotes, Michael Gold has his finger on the pulse of almost every tween in the nation. His goal is to have sales flowing close to the $1-billion mark any day now. Gold (né Goldgrub) was raised in Argentina, and moved to Canada as a young man. Though he began his retail career in the 1970s, he made his biggest splash only recently, in 2004, when he purchased the ailing Bluenotes brand from American Eagle Outfitters Inc., causing speculation that Gold's clout among clothing suppliers might be approaching that of Wal-Mart's. In fact, he hired away Wal-Mart Canada's head of apparel shortly thereafter. As a manager, Gold's reputation is anything but relaxed. He is known to fight down to the last dollar, often passing the savings on to consumers in the form of two-for-one promotions and frequent sales.
»Castles A tasteful, and reportedly modest, home near Toronto's Bridle Path and a vacation property in Florida.
»Unwanted attention In 1983, YM Inc. pleaded guilty to five counts of misleading advertising for selling clothes at sale prices when they had never been offered at regular price. The company was fined $30,000.
»Who he runs with Isaac Benitah, "The Godfather of Cheap Chic" and owner of International Clothiers. In 2001, they were reported to be working together on a deal to buy the floundering Fairweather brand. When the deal was announced, many were shocked to find Gold's name wasn't included.
»When we called We asked to speak with media relations, and were directed to Gold's wife, Libby. She politely, but guardedly, answered our questions.
»Recluse factor MEDIUM Gold's wife, Libby, has been known to scratch their address and phone number off of personal cheques.

Allan Thorlakson
Tolko Industries Ltd.
»Lives Vernon, B.C. »Worth $386 million
Allan Thorlakson has been described variously as a "hard-ass," "brilliant" and "fair." He comes by all of these descriptions honestly. After obtaining his professional engineer designation in 1967, Thorlakson entered Tolko Industries, the forestry company his father founded in 1956. In five years, he rose from plant manager to president; when Harold Belkin died in 1981, he became CEO. The company prospered as a leading supplier of kraft paper and engineered wood products, growing to more than $900 million in sales, with mills in every province of Western Canada. With virtually no middle management—each plant reports directly to the CEO—observers believe Thorlakson has the flexibility he needs to ensure Tolko is the strongest independent forestry company in Canada. As one industry veteran put it, "He's a tough nut."
»Castles Thorlakson owns a $441,000 home overlooking Kalamalka Lake in Coldstream, B.C., as well as a similarly modest condo in downtown Vancouver, valued at just $377,000.
»Who he runs with Thorlakson pretty much runs alone, with Tolko's offices based far from any of the country's primary financial centres. When he does make an appearance at one of his mills, he typically shows up unannounced.
»Sightings Thorlakson often visits Vernon's semi-swank Silver Star ski resort, where he has a $550,000 chalet.
»Trappings of wealth In 2004, he was spotted driving an Audi A8 sedan. (This year's model: $186,000, fully loaded.)
»Noblesse oblige In the wake of hurricane Katrina, Thorlakson donated $75,000 to Habitat for Humanity.
»Recluse factor MEDIUM-HIGH When we called, his assistant politely explained that Thorlakson "generally does not speak to the media."

Stuart Belkin
Belkorp Industries Inc.
»Lives Vancouver »Worth $485 million

When the average person has his identity stolen, the thief commonly runs up a sizable charge on the victim's credit card. When Stuart Belkin's identity was stolen in 2003, thiefs hit the jackpot, literally. In a two-week Las Vegas gambling spree, they ran up charges of $205,537 on his MasterCard. Of course, that's less than a drop in the bucket when compared with the family fortune, amassed by Belkin's father, Morris. The story goes, the elder Belkin arrived in Vancouver via Calgary on a cattle car during the Great Depression, tending the animals to pay his way. Once settled, he launched what would eventually become Canada's largest paperboard packaging company. He died in 1987, shortly after selling Belkorp's (then Balaclava Inc.) papermaking operations for $235 million. Stuart Belkin, one of six children with a stake in the family fortune, took the reins, investing in various businesses: real estate, paper recycling, waste disposal. He now controls a pool of capital estimated at $600 million. His most notable investment came in 1997, when he teamed up with Gerry Schwartz to beat out billionaire Jimmy Pattison for control of B.C. Sugar Refinery Ltd. Belkin's wife, Shannon, a renowned painter, has a fondness for farm animal portraiture.
»Castles Belkin's home, a $2-million palace registered in his wife's name, sits on a 40,000-square-foot swath in Vancouver's Southlands district.

»Noblesse oblige In 1995, the University of  British Columbia renamed its art gallery after Morris and his wife, Helen, in honour of the family's contributions.
»Sightings Belkin, who owns a number of racehorses, is occasionally spotted at Hastings Racecourse. In 2003, his two-year-old filly, Frozen in Time, won the B.C. Cup Debutante. Belkin can also be seen at Big Sky, the golf and country club he owns in Pemberton, B.C.
»Who he runs with Real estate entrepreneur Caleb Chan, of Burrard International Holdings Inc. Belkin also serves on the board of the right-leaning C.D. Howe Institute, whose directors include BMO's Tony Comper and Clive Mather, CEO of Shell Canada Ltd.
»Family feud Before he died, Morris Belkin set up a trust—valued then at more than $200 million—to support future generations of the Belkin clan (its final payout is set for 2066). In 2001, two of Morris's grandchildren, one residing in Dubai, the other in Monte Carlo, petitioned to have the books opened on the suspicion the funds had been reorganized. Stuart Belkin declined, insisting they first sign an agreement of confidentiality.
»Recluse factor MEDIUM-HIGH Belkin rarely, if ever, grants interview requests.

Robert Miller
Future Electronics
»Lives Montreal »Worth $878 Million

No photo of Robert Miller has ever been published. When we called the Montreal electronics firm that he owns to ask for one, the spokesperson who picked up the phone simply laughed. In fact, Robert Miller (rumoured to be 62) hasn't grunted a word to the media since his rise to prominence in the 1970s. Miller's rags-to-riches tale contains all the earmarks of the genre: the precocious beginnings, the canny business mind, the inexhaustible drive. To wit: At the age of 22, he started distributing electronics, and by 1976 he had bought out his partner, Eli Manis, for $500,000. "We were like night and day," Manis says today. "He [Miller] was a very shrewd workaholic who demanded absolute loyalty from his employees." In the 1980s, Miller began to stockpile electronics parts—everything from wires to pricey semiconductors to electromechanical components—used in manufacturing PCs. It was just before the market in personal computers exploded, and the well-positioned Future Electronics grew to become a leading distributor in the burgeoning industry. Salesmen were pushed hard to maximize profits, many of them grumbling about unconventional methods. Be that as it may, the company remains a big player in the industry, operating 155 offices in 35 countries.
»Castle Miller resides in the Upper Westmount mansion once owned by the Bronfman family.
»Not-so-hermit queen Miller's wife, Margaret, handles the couple's real estate interests, which have included shopping malls in Florida, New York and Quebec.
»Heir Miller himself. Although he has two sons, now in their mid-20s, Miller is planning to have his body cryogenically frozen when he kicks off. He plans to squirrel away a portion of his fortune in a trust, so that he may be reunited with his cash when he thaws out.
»Unwanted attention In 1999, 35 RCMP and one FBI agent raided Future Electronics' Montreal office, investigating complaints of fraud. Documents signed by Canadian and U.S. investigators alleged that Miller and three other Future executives, known internally as the "A-team," conspired to fraudulently collect millions of dollars in rebates from its suppliers. Lawyers for the company argued in court to quash the warrant. The company was later cleared.
»Money buys you Last year, when it looked like Future Electronics' low-scoring amateur hockey team, the Townies, would be doomed to an early exit from a charity league tournament, Miller sent his private jet to Scottsdale, Ariz., and lured two NHL veterans off the golf course. Miller cheered from the stands as Stephane Matteau and Donald Audette helped the team win the competition.
»Recluse factor OFF THE CHART Robert Miller has a private entrance to his office, away from prying eyes. It seems that few employees at Future Electronics regularly see their boss in the flesh.   - THE GLOBE & MAIL  2006

Canada's 50 Richest- Wealth Report

Ranking Canada's largest fortunes is a difficult and time-consuming job. Over the course of the past three months, Financial Post reporter Sean Silcoff and 10 of his newsroom colleagues have placed hundreds of telephone calls to experts, chased down property records and rifled through a mountain of corporate filings to calculate the worth of this country's wealthiest citizens for the 2002 Richest 50 report. Since last year, 11 names have been kicked off the list in large part due to the tech meltdown. Germaine Lamonde is one of them. Last year, we crowned the chief executive of Exfo Electro-Optical Engineering Canada's newest billionaire. Now his shares are worth about one-tenth what they were last May. Taking his place are people like Murray Edwards, who made their money in so-called old economy industries. Mr. Edwards, who built a $540-million empire in Alberta's oilpatch, won the final spot in our ranking. But not all tech gurus were sideswiped by the dot-com fallout. The top spot still belongs to Ken Thomson  (now deceased)


1 KEN THOMSON, 78 Toronto $27.71-billion Media, online databases (2001 Rank: 1, $28.99-billion)  - deceased 2007

True to his word, Canada's richest man stepped down this year as chairman of Thomson Corp., the company founded by his father Roy. Mr. Thomson passed the torch to his own son David, who is 44. During his 26 years at the helm, Ken Thomson sold off interests in newspapers, oil and leisure travel, and bought into electronic publishing of specialized professional information. In the process, the value of Thomson's business has grown to US$20-billion from the US$500-million it was worth in 1976. It has also become one of the world's most successful Internet companies by making its databases available to users online. One of Mr. Thomson's last moves as chairman was to help orchestrate a $2-billion-plus stock offering that will see Thomson shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the family will sell off close to $1-billion of its stock, putting a dent in its 73% stake in the company). Mr. Thomson is a notorious penny-pincher but splurges on Canadian art: his collection is believed to be worth more than $200-million.

2 GALEN WESTON, 61 Toronto $10.24-billion Groceries, retail, real estate (2001: 2, $8.09-billion)

Mr. Weston joined the $10-billion club this year largely due to the continuing strength of Loblaw Cos. Ltd., the grocery store chain he and CEO Dick Currie saved and then built into Canada's largest over the course of 25 years (Mr. Currie retired after earning a personal fortune of over $200-million in Weston and Loblaw stock). Mr. Weston owns tony Holt Renfrew fashion stores in Canada as well as their Irish equivalent, Brown Thomas. His vast real estate portfolio includes a sprawling resort development in Vero Beach, Fla. Mr. Weston and wife Hilary, Ontario's former Lieutenant-Governor, regularly rub elbows with members of the British royal family and frequently appear on best-dressed lists. Mr. Weston's older brother Garfield, who ran the Weston family's grocery and baking interests in England and was a billionaire in his own right, passed away last month at 74. Mr. Weston's son Galen, nicknamed G2, is a junior executive at Loblaw.

3 BOMBARDIER / BEAUDOIN FAMILY Montreal $4.56-billion Transportation (2001: 3, $6.46-billion)

Quebec's richest family -- the progeny of snowmobile inventor and local hero Joseph-Armand Bombardier -- saw their fortune plunge by close to $2-billion in the past year thanks in large part to Sept. 11. Stock of Bombardier Inc., the world's third-largest aircraft maker, collapsed last fall on worries the terrorist attacks would mean fewer orders for its corporate and commercial jets. Pierre Beaudoin, grandson of the founder, became head of the company's aerospace division, a sure sign he's being prepped to follow in the footsteps of his father Laurent, the company's former CEO and J-A's son-in-law. So far, the market isn't impressed. At least the snowmobile business is doing OK.

4 JAMES PATTISON, 73 Vancouver $3.81-billion Auto sales, food, media (2001: 9, $2.65-billion)

When he is not tooting his beloved trumpet or relaxing beside the pool at Frank Sinatra's former estate in Palm Springs, Calif., Jimmy Pattison is presiding over one of the largest private companies in Canada. The Jim Pattison Group numbers 20,000 employees and produces estimated sales of $4-billion. His business empire crisscrosses North America and includes investments in supermarkets, magazines, advertising and media companies, coal exports, financial services, auto leasing, packaging and entertainment (he owns the Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not! tourist museums). The Saskatoon-born entrepreneur moved to B.C. and founded his business empire in 1961, buying a GM car dealership with a $40,000 loan. He regularly fired the lowest selling salesman at his car dealerships. Yet, he also has a taste for philanthropy and is a devout Baptist. He gave $20-million to Vancouver General Hospital to establish a prostate cancer research centre.

5 JEFF SKOLL, 37 Palo Alto, Calif. $3.43-billion Internet auctions (2001: 10, $2.61-billion)

Jeff Skoll made his billions as vice-president of Internet auction company eBay Inc. -- one of the few resoundingly successful e-businesses -- but wants to leave his mark as one of North America's greatest philanthropists. Last year, the idealistic Montreal native made the top 20 list of America's most generous donors by giving US$43-million to his Skoll Community Fund, which provides grants to "innovative organizations" around the world. This month, he added another US$20-million, bringing his total bequests to the fund to US$125-million. "I'm trying to ramp this up," Mr. Skoll said of his latest donation. "It's really all part of the overall strategy to mobilize my personal wealth'' to help those in need. "The gap between the haves and the have-nots is at the root of the world's problems, from drugs to terrorism." One of his earliest donations was a $7.5-million grant to the University of Toronto, where he graduated on the dean's list in electrical engineering in 1987. His generous gifts have barely dented his wealth: last September, Fortune Magazine ranked Mr. Skoll the third-richest American under 40.

6 EUGENE MELNYK, 42 Barbados and New York $3.33-billion Pharmaceuticals (2001: 8, $2.96-billion)

Shares of Mr. Melnyk's pharmaceutical company Biovail Corp. have been on a wild ride this year, and so has his net worth: between early April -- when we tabulated his wealth -- and earlier this month his value dropped by close to $1-billion. Investors were spooked about Biovail's accounting methods and pressure from generic competitor Andrx for its lucrative hypertension drug Tiazac. Mr. Melnyk responded in characteristically chippy form, buying even more stock (he already owns 38 million shares) and another company. Then, his biggest critic, Banc of America Securities analyst Jerry Treppel, was silenced after his employer revealed Mr. Treppel held shares in Andrx, a victim of Wall Street's recent obsession with full disclosure. Mr. Melnyk is a former salesman who built and sold a medical trade magazine publishing house before getting into the drug business. He also collects champion racehorses, including Queen's Plate winner Archer's Bay, which he names after places in his adopted home of Barbados. But Mr. Melnyk hasn't forgotten his roots: last August he bought the St. Mike's Majors of the Ontario Hockey League. He follows the games on satellite TV.

7 JAMES (J.K.) IRVING, 73 ARTHUR IRVING, 71 JOHN (JACK) IRVING, 70 Saint John, N.B. $3.2-billion Petroleum, transportation, retail, frozen food, shipbuilding (2001: 6, $3.33-billion)

The Irving brothers and their kin oversee a collection of heavy industrial, old economy companies built up by their late father K.C., the first Maritime billionaire and one of the region's most powerful individuals during his lifetime. They own six million acres of timberland in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine, about 800 gas stations, all of New Brunswick's English daily newspapers and one of the country's largest trucking concerns. Their crown jewel: Canada's largest oil refinery, located in their hometown. They are also sitting on six little used shipyards, and have asked for federal help to make them busy again. The family has been the source of controversy for years, notably after taxpayers had to foot most of the $42-million bill to raise the Irving Whale barge in 1996, more than 25 years after it sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Last year, the N.B. Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission fined Irving Oil $10,000 for obstructing an investigation into the 2000 death of a construction worker at the refinery.

8 PAUL DESMARAIS SR., 75 Montreal $2.79-billion Financial services, publishing (2001: 11, $2.44-billion)

From a Louis XVI-styled office on the edge of Old Montreal, Paul Desmarais, sons AndrŽ and Paul Jr. and a collection of former politicians and mandarins control Canada's largest insurance company (Great West Lifeco), mutual fund dealer (Investors Group) and Quebec's biggest newspaper, La Presse. Their company, Power Corp., last year indirectly secured a 25% stake in publishing giant Bertelsmann AG. Expect Power to play a big role during the next wave of Canadian bank mergers, possibly teaming up with occasional partner CIBC. Mr. Desmarais, a Sudbury native, saved his family's failing bus company and built his empire from there. He's notorious for his impeccable political connections (he sold Canada Steamship Lines to former employee Paul Martin in the early 1980s; former prime minister Brian Mulroney is a friend; son AndrŽ is married to Prime Minister Jean ChrŽtien's daughter). He recently built his own exclusive golf course, called Domaine Laforest. Power has one of the most impressive corporate art collections in Canada; in the courtyard next to its headquarters is an 18th-century limestone statue of Amphitrite (wife of Poseidon) that Mr. Desmarais picked up in northern France in 1989.

9 BERNARD SHERMAN, 60 Toronto $2.73-billion Pharmaceuticals (2001: 7, $3.31-billion)

It seems hardly a year goes by when Barry Sherman, chairman and chief executive of privately owned Apotex Inc. -- one of the world's largest generic drug makers -- isn't involved in some form of controversy. No stranger to litigation, Apotex is ready to scrap with nearly anybody that challenges its right to sell generic versions of brand-name drugs. The most recent flare-up occurred when Mr. Sherman managed to sell the Canadian government $1.5-million of the anti-anthrax drug ciproflaxin, despite the fact international drug giant Bayer still holds the patent on the drug. As biotech firms have skidded from favour this year Mr. Sherman, who holds 95% of Apotex and a 25% stake in U.S. generic firm Barr Laboratories, has seen roughly half a billion dollars shaved off his net worth.

10 CHARLES BRONFMAN, 70 New York $2.38-billion Entertainment, alcohol, telecommunications (2001: 4, $3.82-billion)

Charles Bronfman quietly acceded in 2000 to nephew Edgar Jr.'s decision to sell the family's Seagram Co. and its Universal media division to European conglomerate Vivendi SA. Since then, "convergence" companies have waned and Vivendi Universal has sold off part of the Seagram drinks business. Meanwhile, Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier has become one of the most unpopular corporate leaders in Europe. Edgar Jr. has left the company and the Bronfmans have sold millions of shares. Vivendi's stock price is down, and so is Mr. Bronfman's fortune: he's worth close to $1.5-billion less than he was last year. His stake in Koor Industries, Israel's largest conglomerate, has also listed badly thanks to the poor performance of telecommunications stocks. Mr. Bronfman's father Sam built the family fortune selling booze during the U.S. Prohibition. Mr. Bronfman's philanthropic efforts focus on the "enhancement of Canadianism" (including the production of those heritage moment reels) and promoting Jewish unity. In 1999, he helped initiate a program called Birthright Israel to allow Jews between the ages of 18 and 26 to visit the country on free 10-day tours. Mr. Bronfman moved from Montreal to New York in 1997 after tiring of the political climate.

11 DAVID AZRIELI, 79 Montreal $2.32-billion Real estate (2001: 14, $2.03-billion)

Heritage lovers in Montreal will never forgive David Azrieli for tearing down the abandoned Van Horne mansion on Sherbrooke St. and replacing it with an office building in the early 1970s, complete with a bronze plaque bearing a likeness of his face at the entrance. He is unrepentant (in fact, he's turning the building into a luxury hotel). Besides, he has other critics, such as those who accused him of posing as an architect (he started but never completed his studies at Haifa's Technion in the 1940s). To placate them, he earned his architecture degree from Carleton University at age 75, then gave the school $2.7-million to establish the David J. Azrieli Institute for Graduate Studies in Architecture, one of his many bequests. A Polish-born Holocaust survivor, he arrived in Canada in 1954 and began building houses, then apartments, then shopping malls. Turning his attention to Israel in the early 1980s, the proud Zionist introduced the air-conditioned shopping mall to Israel and became the country's top real estate tycoon. Daughter Danna recently published Mr. Azrieli's memoirs. Another daughter, Sharon, trained at Julliard, travelled the world as an opera singer, and is now the cantor at a reform synagogue in Westmount.

12 SAPUTO FAMILY Montreal $2.31-billion Food, transportation, forestry products, real estate (2001: 22, $1.37-billion)

While countless instant high-tech millionaires crashed and burned last year, Lino Saputo quietly added close to $1-billion to his family's net worth as shares of his cheese company, Saputo Inc., soared and then split two-for-one. Saputo, already Canada's largest dairy producer, continues to grow into one of the largest cheese producers in North America by snapping up dairy companies, including Dairyworld Foods of Western Canada last year. Lino and his Sicilian-born father started from humble beginnings, selling cheese to Montreal's Italian community in the 1950s. U.S. and Canadian authorities harassed the family for years after an aborted deal in the 1960s to sell part of the business to New York crime boss Joseph Bonanno. (Lino always maintained his father backed out after learning of the Mafia don's background.) The Saputos own a large stake in two other public companies: TransForce, one of Canada's largest trucking concerns, and Unifort, a forestry company that's in bankruptcy protection. Mr. Saputo also owns a collection of classic cars. His son Lino Jr. is president and CEO of Saputo's U.S. cheese division.

13 Jean Coutu, 74 Montreal $2.21-billion Drugstores (2001: 16, $1.7-billion)

The founder of the eponymous Quebec-based drug store chain was one of several food and drug retailers whose net worth grew substantially during the past two years as investors fled from the high-tech and telecommunications meltdown for safer havens. His Jean Coutu Group Inc. posted gains of 30%-plus each of the past two years. This has been another banner year for the pharmacy chain, which operates 600 stores and 37 clinics in eastern Canada and the U.S. northeast. The company posted record sales and profit and bought the 80-store Boston-area Osco chain for US$240-million. Mr. Coutu's son Franois is president and chief operating officer. Mr. Coutu and his wife Marcelle donate millions every year through their charitable foundation, providing medical equipment and drinking water to third-world nations and helping to fund shelters for battered women and the homeless.

14 FRED MANNIX, 60 RON MANNIX, 54 Calgary $2-billion Construction, energy, real estate (2001: 13, $2.05-billion)

Ron and Fred launched separate businesses after cashing out of the family's coal-mining, oil and pipeline empire three years ago at a market peak. Ron's development company built the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Calgary -- the most expensive in the city, and a victim of low occupancy rates since its recent completion. Fred is also involved in commercial real estate, as well as energy, coal and other investments. His highest-profile purchase is the steely Nexen building, one of the landmark towers in Calgary's core. Both continue to look for investment opportunities, although they are seen as risk-averse and prudent in their choices. Despite going their separate ways, they continue to share an obsession for secrecy. The family dynasty began with Frederick Stephen Mannix, who worked on the railroad in the late 19th century and built wealth from coal mining and construction. The family business flourished under his only son, Frederick Charles, father of Ron and Fred. The fourth generation includes Frederick Mannix, son of Fred, who shares his dad's love for polo and is making his mark outside the family business as a star player on Team Canada.

15 MICHAEL DEGROOTE, 68 Bermuda $1.91-billion Auto sales, professional services, investments (2001: 30, $1.1-billion)

Mr. DeGroote built Laidlaw Inc. into one of the world's largest waste disposal companies before selling out in the late 1980s and moving from Hamilton, Ont., to Bermuda. He and an associate paid a record $23-million to the Ontario Securities Commission to settle an insider trading case. Since then, he's backed two U.S. companies, with mixed results. One, Autonation Inc., has rebounded in the past year, and so has Mr. DeGroote's fortune, which is overseen by 20 portfolio managers on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. DeGroote, a former owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats football team, is one of the Southern Ontario's major benefactors; he's given millions to Hamilton's McMaster University, which named its business school after him. Last fall, he gave $1-million to Hillfield Strathallan College, a private school attended by his four children and several grandchildren.

16 EDWARD (TED) ROGERS, 68 Toronto $1.86-billion Cable, media, telecommunications, (2001: 15, $1.92-billion)

Ted Rogers told investors in his cable, wireless and media company Rogers Communications Inc. he would step down next year -- then extended his stint as chief executive until Dec. 31, 2006, with the option for him to terminate it early on six months' notice. If he stays, he'll retire at age 73. His other pledge for 2003 was to have the company reach investment grade status. That may happen later than expected, too. Last year, Mr. Rogers paid his company $30-million for voting control of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club, which gets the team's losses off the company's income statement and allows his private company to benefit at tax time. Mr. Rogers is one of Toronto's leading philanthropists. He donated $35-million to the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, the largest personal donation ever received by either school.

17 WALLACE McCAIN,72 Toronto $1.72-billion frozen foods, meat processing, baked goods2001: 17, $1.67-billion)

Wallace McCain bought into Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in 1995 after losing one of the nastiest family feuds in Canadian business history. He and his older brother Harrison built New Brunswick-based McCain Foods Ltd. into the globe's largest french fry maker starting in 1957, the dawn of the fast-food age. But the relationship soured when Harrison rallied other family members against Wallace's plan to install his son Michael as successor. In the ensuing battle, Wallace lost his job (the two brothers each continue to own 34% of the company, and the feud promises to outlive them). Michael now runs pork and bread producer Maple Leaf, whose stock has gone up this year on strong sales and profit. Daughter Eleanor, 31, released her debut album, Intimate, last year. One song, Green Hills of Home, alludes to the family split: "We'll say goodbye to faded glories /And walk away with heads held high/ And we'll write a brand new story/ And build castles in western skies."

18 Michael Lee-Chin, 51 Burlington, Ont. $1.71-billion Mutual funds (2001: 19, $1.57-billion)

The charismatic Michael Lee-Chin built Canada's 11th-largest mutual fund, AIC Ltd., by following the prudent investing philosophies of U.S. multibillionaire Warren Buffet. Now he's hoping to build on AIC's reputation as a smart asset manager throughout the Americas. He started this year in his native Jamaica, paying $214-million for a 75% stake in one of the country's largest banks, National Commercial Bank. Customers cheered the move and credit rating agencies immediately boosted their ratings outlook on the bank. Mr. Lee-Chin was even cited by a local columnist as one of two homegrown international heroes (the other being international football referee Peter Prendergast) who "have left many Jamaicans in awesome admiration." The positive press from the Jamaican deal led him to buy San Francisco-based Elijah Asset Management. AIC's headquarters in Burlington has a flower garden, tropical birds, sculptures and a pad for Mr. Lee-Chin's helicopter.

19 Harrison McCain, 74 Florenceville, N.B. $1.44-billion Frozen foods (2001: 18, $1.65-billion)

Older brother of Wallace (No. 17), Harrison McCain controls McCain Foods Ltd., one of Canada's largest and most successful private companies, after orchestrating the ouster of his brother from the company in the early 1990s. The feisty Mr. McCain keeps a lower profile these days after a series of heart problems and the loss of his wife, Billie, to cancer. The company's management team is largely based out of Toronto, with 53-year-old nephew Allison, the family's heir apparent, serving as deputy chairman. Mr. McCain was a no-show last October at a Toronto ceremony sponsored by the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business to honour both brothers for their business leadership. One of his three daughters, Laura, runs the Creekside Estate Winery in the Niagara region.

20 Reichmann Family Toronto $1.39-billion Real estate (2001: 27, $1.21-billion)

The veil on the Reichmann family wealth lifted a bit last year with the $155-million public offering relating to U.S. office building holdings of IPC Inc., a company Paul started four years ago. Well known for its charity, the Reichmann family also has a reputation for privacy. Every IPO is another chance to catch a glimpse of the family's real-estate empire, which has been growing again after its infamous flameout in the early 1990s. The ultra-orthodox Jewish brothers Albert, Paul and Ralph Reichmann built their Olympia & York Developments Ltd. into a real estate empire that included such landmark skyscrapers as New York City's World Trade Center and Toronto's First Canadian Place. By the late 1980s, they were one of the wealthiest families in the world, worth more than US$10-billion. But the business collapsed when Paul built the highly leveraged Canary Wharf development in London. With few tenants as the recession hit, O&Y went bankrupt. But the Reichmanns are coming back strong. First Canadian Place is back in their hands and, three years ago, Paul led a public offering of stock in the now successful Canary Wharf. This year, O&Y Corp. is expected to complete downtown Toronto's first major office tower in a decade.

21 Richardson family Winnipeg $1.28-billion Grain, oil and gas, real estate, financial services (2001: 28, $1.18-billion)

One of Canada's oldest family dynasties dates to the 1840s, when Kingston, Ont., tailor James Richardson realized the grain he accepted as payment from farmers could be resold at a profit. From there he built one of Canada's enduring grain businesses, James Richardson International, famous for its Pioneer grain elevators across the prairies. The family business, now based in Winnipeg, has endured for five peaceful generations, a rarity in Canada, expanding into the radio, investment brokerage, airline, real estate and oil and gas businesses. Cousins Carolyn Hursh, 50, and Hartley Richardson, 47, are chair and CEO, respectively, of holding company James Richardson & Sons Ltd. The modest family keeps a low profile but is active in the community. Hartley's aunt, Kathleen Richardson, one of Canada's most discreet philanthropists and the saviour of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, broke her long-standing silence last month, telling a panel at the Canadian Association of Gift Planners in Winnipeg "having money is a privilege; giving money is also a privilege. You're a philanthropist whether you give $10 or $10-million."

22 Saul Feldberg, 66 Toronto Furniture $1.24-billion (2001: 23, $1.31-billion)

Saul Feldberg, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor, started as an upholsterer in Canada almost 40 years ago and ended up building one of North America's largest furniture makers. He controls publicly traded Teknion Corp., maker of expensive and sleekly designed office furniture. His privately held Global Group makes lower-end furniture and Obus Forme backrests. Son David joined Teknion in 1984 after earning a law degree; he now runs the company. Teknion has suffered a sharp drop in sales as the economic slowdown translates into lower demand for desks, chairs, cubicle walls and the people who sit inside them.

23 Israel Asper, 69 Winnipeg $1.21-billion Media (2001: 26, $1.25-billion)   deceased

Izzy Asper has made some attempts to slip into the background since his CanWest Global Communications Corp. added Canada's largest newspaper chain, which includes the National Post, to its national television network. CanWest, which the Aspers control, also has broadcast holdings in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Mr. Asper has variously taken on newspaper unions and the CBC over his newspaper chain's national editorial policy, and his belief that a public broadcaster should not be competing with the privates for sports and other information and entertainment. A lawyer and former leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party, he is also a big supporter of the arts in his hometown. As well, he donated $5-million to St. Boniface Hospital and Research Foundation last year and gave $5-million to create a chair in entrepreneurship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mr. Asper, who turns 70 in August, is executive chairman of CanWest; son Leonard, 37, is CEO.

24 Terry Matthews, 58 Ottawa $1.2-billion Telecommunications, real estate (2001: 5, $3.45-billion)

Terry Matthews dropped from the top 10 in the past year: His fortune took a $2-billion hit, thanks to the slump in telecommunications and technology stocks that took a bite from the value of his 32 million Alcatel SA shares. However, he' still the world's richest Welshman and remains one of Canada's best-known technology leaders. Mr. Matthews has raised his profile outside the technology industry, leading Wales' successful run to bring golf's Ryder Cup to his Celtic Manor hotel complex. He founded Ottawa's Mitel Corp. in 1972 with Michael Cowpland and later created Newbridge Networks Corp., which he sold to Alcatel of France for US$7-billion two years ago. His latest project is privately held March Networks of Kanata, Ont.

25 Robert Miller Montreal $1.2-billion Electronic components distribution (2001: 24, $1.29-billion)

"Good luck," was all one analyst said when asked for help in calculating a net worth for Robert Miller, perhaps Canada's most reclusive billionaire. Mr. Miller, whose privately-owned Future Electronics Inc. is one of the world's largest electronics distributors, never gives interviews, his age is unknown, and no media photographs of him are believed to exist. Recently, the secretive Mr. Miller and his equally secretive Future Electronics (estimated sales: US$2.5-billion this year), were in the spotlight when the U.S. Department of Justice dropped a three-year old fraud investigation against the company. Mr. Miller lives in an Upper Westmount mansion that was formerly home to Charles Bronfman. His wife Margaret runs the company's real estate portfolio, which includes factory outlet malls in Florida and Quebec.

26 Carlo FIDANI,47 Toronto $1.13-billion Real estate (2001: 29, $1.11-billion)

Carlo Fidani took over father Orey's Toronto real estate empire in 2000 after he lost his battle with lung cancer. One of Carlo's first acts as chairman of Orlando Corp., the family's holding company, was a $6-million donation to help build a regional cancer centre in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. Orey started in the business as a teenager. During the 1960s, he acquired huge tracts of land in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe, which he turned into a string of business parks. The Heartland Business Community is a 25-million-square-foot complex in Mississauga. Orlando also owns Toronto's Bayview Village mall. Despite its relatively small stature, at 440,000 square feet, it's one of best malls in the country. Its revenue astounds most real estate watchers.

27 Stephen Jarislowsky, 76 Montreal $1-billion Wealth management (2001: 35, $800-million)

The widely quoted, strongly opinionated critic of lousy management, fatcat stock option plans and lazy boards of directors is also a shrewd investor who has built himself a billion-dollar fortune. His secret? Buy companies with good managers, preferably those who own a lot of the company stock and "are rich enough [to] afford to be honest." German-born Stephen Jarislowsky earned a mechanical engineering degree, learned Japanese and worked in counterintelligence for the U.S. during the Second World War. He graduated from Harvard Business School in 1949 in a class that would boast seven future Fortune 500 CEOs. In 1955, he started Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., a Montreal-based investment counselling firm that is now one of Canada's largest pension fund managers, with $29-billion in assets under management. He recently donated $1.25-million to establish the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia.

28 Marcel Adams, 81 Montreal Real estate $940-million (2001: 33, $845-million)

Marcel Adams is one of Canada's shrewdest and most successful real estate moguls. The diehard dealmaker escaped his native Romania after being forced into a labour camp during the Second World War. He fought in the Israeli War of Independence, then came to Canada in the 1950s. He worked as a hide tanner and trader in Quebec City before trying his hand at real estate. Soon, he was building strip centres and shopping malls across Quebec, and gradually whittled his debts down to nothing. With cash coming in the door, he opened a high-risk, high-interest commercial real estate lending operation, Les Placements Jeton Bleu Inc. (Blue Chip Investments) in the 1980s to put his excess money to work. When the real estate market tanked in the early 1990s, Mr. Adams made a killing, taking back dozens of highly leveraged properties through Jeton Bleu. One such gem was Ivan Tors Studio, the largest film studio in southern Florida and former home of Flipper. He renamed the studio and filled the pool with concrete, but that didn't stop the stars from coming: Demi Moore, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Carrey have filmed movies there. Son Sylvan, 43, runs the empire now; he's made a few successful deals of his own buying and selling land around Montreal that nobody else wanted. The elder Mr. Adams is an avid non-fiction reader and world traveller who speaks five languages. He still goes to work everyday.

29 Vic De Zen, 60 Toronto, $935-million Plastics, real estate (2001: 38, $755-million)

If there is one thing Vic De Zen knows, it's plastic. His Woodbridge, Ont.-based Royal Group Technologies Ltd. sold more than $1.6-billion worth of plastic products last year, from house construction products for the developing world to everyday patio furniture. Never one to think small, Mr. De Zen dreams of a plastic world with everything from plastic furniture to plastic toilets. Cynics may scoff, but Mr. De Zen and his employees -- many of whom became millionaires through Royal's stock option plan -- have been laughing all the way to the bank. In the early '60s, the tool and die maker arrived in Toronto from his native Italy. Within a day, he got a job installing TV antennas. Later, the new arrival worked at a plastics factory, but left with two co-workers when management rescinded an offer of shares in the company. In 1970, the trio started Royal with $51,000, and never looked back.

30 Ron Joyce, 71 Calgary $915-million Doughnuts and coffee, real estate (2001: 34, $800-million)

The past year brought pivotal changes to Ron Joyce's life and his investment portfolio. The former police officer who co-founded the Tim Hortons chain with the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player sold two-thirds of his shares in Wendy's International Inc., parent company of the doughnuts and coffee purveyor, for US$250-million. The deal seemed to prove the 71-year-old avid golfer had finally recovered from selling his "sweetheart" business to Wendy's for about $600-million in 1995. Mr. Joyce still serves as chairman of the Tim Horton Children's Foundation and works with the charities that he helped found in the wake of Mr. Horton's death. Today, he owns homes in Burlington, Ont., and Calgary but spends most of his time at Fox Harbour, N.S., where he has built his own golf course and a 72-suite lodge not far from the village of Tatamagouche, where he spent an impoverished childhood.

31 Gerry Schwartz, 60 Toronto $895-million Computer and auto parts, cinemas, sugar, books, wine (2001: 37, $845-million)

Gerry Schwartz appears poised to score another lucrative coup with his rescue of bankrupt movie theatre chain, New York-based Loews Cineplex Entertainment. Mr. Schwartz's Onex Corp., which counts electronics maker Celestica Inc., an auto-parts manufacturer and sugar company among its many holdings, stepped in with another investor to pick up the pieces of down-and-out Loews Cineplex for $1.3-billion. Now, Onex is considering an IPO for Loews after Regal Entertainment Group, also a once-defunct theatre exhibitor, hit the market with great success in May. Mr. Schwartz and wife Heather Reisman, 53, who made headlines this year when she banned copies of Mein Kampf and those comfy overstuffed sofas and chairs from Chapters and Indigo Books and Music Inc. stores, slightly boosted their stake in the book chain this year through a rights offering. While Oprah Winfrey finally pulled the plug on her influential book club, Ms. Reisman continues to dole out her favourite selections.

32 Leslie Dan, 72 Toronto $850-million Pharmaceuticals (2001: 32, $930-million)

Leslie Dan is a true rags-to-riches story. After arriving in Canada from Hungary in 1947 with not a cent to his name, he picked tobacco, bused tables and later earned a pharmacy degree and MBA. He then launched a company that filled prescriptions for fellow immigrants to send drugs available only in North America to European relatives. In 1965, he created powerhouse Novopharm Ltd., which grew into Canada's largest maker of generic drugs until it was surpassed by Apotex Inc. Mr. Dan sold to Israeli drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. in 2002 and is now Teva's second-largest shareholder. He also controls Viventia Biotech Inc., a cancer research company. Mr. Dan has been a heavy contributor to the University of Toronto's pharmacy program.

33 Daryl Katz, 40 Edmonton $850-million Drugstores New to list

Daryl Katz, lawyer-turned-pharmacy kingpin, has steadily amassed nearly 1,800 stores in the United States and Canada over the past 10 years, making his Katz Group Inc. the largest drugstore chain in the country. In November, Mr. Katz continued his buying spree with the acquisition of Drug Trading Co. Ltd. of Markham, Ont., adding 750 stores under the IDA, Guardian and RxCentral banners. His strategy is simple: find drugstore chains that boast strong market share but poor management. He focuses on the dealmaking. As the big-box behemoths expand their dominance in all aspects of retailing, Mr. Katz will continue to consolidate independent stores but retain their respective brands to serve a variety of market segments. His father, Barry Katz, launched the Value Drug March chain in the 1970s.

34 SOBEY FAMILY Pictou County, N.S. $850-million Groceries, real estate (New to list)

Shares of the family holding company Empire Co. and their eponymous grocery store company have been on a tear this year, threatening to turn the quiet establishment family from rural Nova Scotia into the Maritimes' third billionaire clan (behind the Irvings and the McCains). Frank Sobey started the family dynasty in 1924, adding vegetables, milk and canned goods to his father's butcher shop. When he died 61 years later, Empire controlled many of Atlantic Canada's shopping malls, movie theatres, convenience and grocery stores. His heirs, led by 45-year-old grandson Paul -- Empire's CEO -- bought ailing grocer Oshawa Group in 1998 to become the country's second-largest food retailer, behind Galen Weston's Loblaw Co. Sobey's blundered badly last year, taking a $50-million writedown after its new computerized inventory system crashed and had to be replaced. But the company bounced back by getting out of non-core businesses, paying down debt and reporting record profits and strong sales.

35 BOBBY JULIEN, 34 DELIA MOOG, 67 Toronto $830-million Real estate (New to list)

Mr. Julien's late uncle Gerhard Moog emmigrated from Germany to Canada in 1951 with his first wife, Anita, and $42 in savings. He worked as a truck driver and door-to-door cosmetics salesman until saving enough to begin developing apartments. In the 1960s he built the Canada Square office and retail complex at the corner of Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto. Mr. Moog was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 1984 (the year of his divorce; Delia Moog was his second wife) but lived another 12 years. However, his family real estate company (now called Kolter Property Co.) was inactive during the real estate bubble of the late 1980s -- leaving it in good shape to scoop up a few bargains in the early 1990s. Among the quarry: nine office properties in Dallas, bought following the collapse of the U.S. savings and loan industry. Mr. Julien became Kolter's president in 1994 and today oversees an empire that includes residential and golf course developments in Toronto and Florida.

36 JOSEPH BURNETT, 66 TED BURNETT, 55 Toronto $805-million Real estate, food, jewellery (2001: 41, $725-million)

The Burnett brothers own one of Canada's ritziest jewellery stores (Royal de Versailles on Toronto's Bloor St.) and North America's biggest greenhouse operation (in Florida). They've also made a killing in the hothouse Toronto real estate market, selling million-dollar condos to the likes of Mayor Mel Lastman and suit king Harry Rosen. Elder brother Joseph was acquitted of charges of tax evasion following one of the longest and most expensive criminal trials in Canadian history. He's kept a low profile ever since. The brothers, who live one block from each other in Toronto's tony Forest Hill neighbourhood, made their fortune building and then selling discount grocery stores in the 1980s.

37 LALJI FAMILY Vancouver $790-million Real estate (New to list)

One of Vancouver's most private families is also one of the city's wealthiest. After leaving Uganda in the 1970s, when iron-fisted dictator Idi Amin expelled thousands of people of South Asian ethnicity, the Laljis launched the Larco Group of Cos. in Vancouver. Run by brothers Amin, Mansoor and Shiraz, it owns dozens of properties including storage facilities, hotels, shopping centers and residential housing developments across North America. The Laljis went bargain-hunting in Las Vegas late last year, picking up the down-and-out Regent hotel and casino for US$80-million. Among the family's other holdings are the Renaissance Toronto Hotel at SkyDome and Vancouver Airport Marriott.

38 ALLAN SLAIGHT Toronto $775-million Broadcasting, video duplication (2001: 36, $780-million)

Mr. Slaight's Standard Broadcasting Inc. played the lead role in the dramatic reshaping of the Canadian radio industry last year. His company, once owned by Lord Black of Crossharbour, paid $400-million for 60 Telemedia radio stations outside Quebec, then turned around and sold 28 Ontario and Alberta stations, including Toronto's FAN 590, to Rogers Communications and Newcap Inc. Once the deals are approved by the CRTC, Standard will own 49 radio stations and two TV stations, with a minority stake in another 11 radio stations. The former owner of the Toronto Raptors basketball team and one-time travelling magician also owns a large video duplication business and grocery store sampling company. Son Gary runs the radio business.

39 JR SHAW, 67 Calgary $765-million Cable television, broadcasting (2001: 40, $745-million)

JR Shaw and son Jim oversee Canada's second-largest cable company, Shaw Communications Inc. Mr. Shaw moved from Sarnia, Ont., to Edmonton and won his first cable-TV licence in 1970. He built, and later bought, cable operations across Canada, topping off the growth spree with last year's purchase of Winnipeg-based Moffat Communications Ltd. His family also runs Corus Entertainment Inc., which counts YTV and The Comedy Network among its holdings. Older brother Les Shaw, who just missed our cutoff this year, runs his own public company (ShawCor) and sits on the Shaw Communications board.

40 KRUGER FAMILY Montreal Forestry products $760-million (2001: 39, $750-million)

The family runs one of Canada's largest forestry companies, Kruger Inc., makers of Scotties facial tissues and White Swan toilet paper. The Krugers rarely make headlines, with one recent exception, after appointing former Industry minister Brian Tobin vice-chairman. That wasn't the case in the 1980s, when the family endured a bitter battle over succession. The company has revenue of about $2-billion a year and employs more than 10,000 people at operations in Canada, the U.S., U.K. and Venezuela. Joseph Kruger I founded the company in 1921. Sons Gene and Bernard Kruger took over in 1927. A feud over which branch of the family would run the company in the third generation ended when Gene died in 1988. His son, Joseph II, took over as CEO and still runs the company. These days the family's biggest challenge is the weak price of newsprint, Kruger's main product.

41 HENRY (HAL) JACKMAN, 69 Toronto $750-million Investments (2001: 44, $650-million)

Ontario's former lieutenant governer maintains control over a web of quiet publicly traded financial services companies through his E-L Financial Corp., earning a frugal $180,000 annual salary and a reputation as Canada's most underpaid CEO. He's better known for a variety of causes that span the political, social and economic spheres. He is a major supporter of the arts in Ontario and chancellor of the University of Toronto. Mr. Jackman partially bankrolled the unite-the-right movement and badgered PC leader Joe Clark to join with the Alliance, saying the former prime minister's credibility "is beyond repair" when that didn't happen.

Last year, Mr. Jackman and others convinced the Ontario government to freeze development in the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine, where he owns land. He also publicly voted against Sun Life's takeover of Clarica Life Insurance over the deal's hefty breakup fee. Son Duncan runs part of the family business. Daughter Consuelo recently released her first book of poetry, The Art of Adultery.

42 FRANK STRONACH, 69 Aurora, Ont. $600-million Auto parts, horses (New to list)

From a one-man shop, Mr. Stronach transformed Magna International Inc. into an auto parts giant that employs about 70,000 people around the globe. He recently pledged to almost double Magna's annual revenue to US$20-billion by 2006. Last year daughter Belinda took over as Magna's CEO, with Mr. Stronach staying on as chairman. He still got one of the richest paycheques in Canadian business, US$33-million. For his next project, Mr. Stronach has his sights set on growing Magna Entertainment Corp., the company's horse racing and gaming venture that owns some of the most famous racetracks in the United States. He dreams of transforming the uppity world of horse-racing into pure entertainment for the masses. Son Andy, a former minor pro tennis player, helped steer MEC's growth, until he was reportedly fired for laying claim to a gaming software his dad felt belonged to the company. Squabbles aside, Mr. Stronach said recently, "Life's been just incredible to me. I'm lucky at everything I touch. I think it's because everyone makes things too complicated. I do the opposite. I simplify everything."

43 GUY LALIBERTE, 42 Montreal $650-million Circus entertainment (New to list)

Perhaps Canada's most famous cultural export, the Cirque du Soleil, recently launched Varekai, its 14th live production which was described by one reviewer as a "bacchanalian celebration of multiple art forms." (Read: an eclectic and astounding collection of performances including acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, dancers and clowns, woven around the theme of Icarus, the ancient Greek who flew too close to the Sun.) Behind the scenes, the world-famous Cirque du Soleil is now a one-man show. Co-founder and former street performer Guy LalibertŽ bought out partner Daniel Gauthier in 2000. Cirque shows continue to enjoy immense popularity in Asia, North America and Europe. Mr. LalibertŽ has worked on projects in Mongolia and Senegal to help street children.

44  Elizabeth Samuel, 68 Oakville, Ont. $640-million Steel, horses (2001: 43, $650-million)

One of the few women on our list, Mrs. Samuel is the former chairwoman of the Royal Ontario Museum and heads one of the country's oldest family dynasties. Samuel, Son & Co. Ltd. traces its roots to the mid-19th Century when her late husband Ernie's great-grandfather began selling gas chandeliers in Toronto. Steel is now the family's business, but its real love is horses. Their Sam-Son Farm has produced some of the most prized horses in Canadian thoroughbred history, including Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly and daughter Dancethruthedawn, who won the $600,000 Queen's Plate last year. Dancethruthedawn's brother, Scatter The Gold, won the year before. While Ernie, who multiplied the family fortune, passed away in May, 2000, the family hasn't forgotten what he stood for. "[Ernie] left us a huge legacy, not because of the way he grew the business and the monetary value he created, but because of the simple values he stood for: working hard and giving back," daughter Kim Samuel-Johnson told the National Post last year. "So in a way you could say he was a wealthy Canadian and he made us a wealthy Canadian family, though it has nothing to do with money or measurement or dubious recognition like being on a list of rich people."

45 Michael Potter, 58 Ottawa $635-million Software (2001: 48, $520-million)

Mr. Potter, the retired founder of software firm Cognos Inc., made front-page news in Ottawa last September after the landing gear on his 1945 Spitfire --one of five vintage planes in his collection -- collapsed upon landing. Mr. Potter was unhurt, but the plane's undercarriage sustained damage. When he isn't flying, Mr. Potter can be found sailing his 92-foot yacht outfitted with an antique fireplace and collection of Canadian paintings. He is a major donor to the arts in Ottawa. Mr. Potter's name also made headlines during the past year thanks to a messy divorce fight with former Ottawa Citizen reporter Alanah Kainz. They reached an out-of-court settlement in February after she originally asked for $10-million plus a monthly payment of $100,000. The couple's relationship began six weeks after a deranged gunman murdered her first husband, sports broadcaster Brian Smith, in 1995. Mr. Potter and Ms. Kainz married in June 1999, for three months. They have two daughters, ages three and five. In his financial statement to the court, Mr. Potter claimed he was worth less than $200-million.

46 Robert Beamish, 64 Woodbridge, Ont. $610-million Auto parts (New to list)

In the late 1970s, Mr. Beamish and business partner Robert Fitzhenry put together $50,000 to buy a money-losing foam plant in Woodbridge, Ont., from their employer Monsanto Co. Renaming it the Woodbridge Group, the pair grew their privately held firm into a company with 50 plants in 14 countries. Woodbridge sold more than $1-billion worth of foam for automobile car seats and dashboards last year. In 1997, Mr. Fitzhenry, 72, sold most of his stake in the firm to Mr. Beamish and relocated to Barbados to operate its purchasing and financing arms, leaving Mr. Beamish in control of Woodbridge.

47 Charles Sirois, 47 Montreal $565-million Telecommunications (2001: 31, $1.06-billion)

Charles Sirois had the reverse Midas touch during the past year: Pretty much everything the one-time telecommunications billionaire owned cratered in value. He had his hands full helping restructure such dogs as Telesystem International Wireless and Look Communications. Meanwhile, his side interest -- investing in startups -- provides fewer thrills than it did three years ago, when Mr. Sirois showered a small army of Internet and wireless companies with venture capital. We suspect the value of his investments in this sector have tanked. To add insult to injury, Mr. Sirios' 27-year-old son Franois-Charles was fired from his marketing job at cellular phone company Microcell Telecommunications Inc. last month, despite the fact that the elder Sirois owns 25% of the company. Mr. Sirois' biggest asset is his 2% sliver of BCE Inc., which he received when BCE took over Mr. Sirois' Teleglobe Inc. for $7.4-billion in late 2000. The deal proved disastrous for BCE: its CEO and chairman Jean Monty quit last month after announcing BCE was walking away from the now worthless Teleglobe.

48 Lawrence Tanenbaum, 56 Toronto $555-million Paving, professional sports, electronics, publishing (New to list)

Mr. Tanenbaum walks softly but carries a big hockey stick as minority owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and Air Canada Centre, where both teams play. The publicity-shy wheeler-dealer is the youngest son of late industrialist Max Tanenbaum, and fought with his siblings over their father's vast estate in the 1980s. He got the paving company (which he sold in 2000 for $550-million) and older brother Joey ended up with the family's steel companies. Both are major philanthropists, although Joey has given too much away to qualify as one of Canada's richest people. Recent speculation is that Mr. Tanenbaum will add to his publishing holdings (he owns part of U.S.-based Professional Sports Publications Inc.) by buying a stable of Conrad Black's trade magazines.

49 Marco Muzzo, 70 Toronto $550-million Real estate, construction (New to list)

One of the wealthiest and most powerful developers in the Greater Toronto Area, Mr. Muzzo's name is often mentioned in tandem with fellow developers Rudy Bratty and Alfredo De Gasperis, his frequent business partners and long-time friends. Mr. Muzzo emigrated from Italy in the 1950s and worked as a plasterer on new homes around Toronto; he and late brother Elio eventually grew their contracting business into Canada's largest drywall company, with more than 500 employees. He, Bratty and De Gasperis bought into a syndicate in the 1970s that was snapping up undeveloped land surrounding Toronto. As the city expanded outward in the 1980s, they reaped a windfall, building many of the residential subdivisions in the 905 belt. Their biggest project now is the redevelopment of the Greenwood Race Track in Toronto's Beaches.

50 Murray Edwards, 42 Calgary $540-million Oil and gas, aerospace, sports, resorts (New to list)

In a city known for its entrepreneurship, Mr. Edwards is at the top of the heap. The former lawyer parlayed a $100,000 investment in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. a dozen years ago into one of the city's largest fortunes. Mr. Edwards diversified into aerospace and other interests, including Magellan Aerospace Corp. In the past year, Mr. Edwards continued to show his Midas touch in the oil business, resulting in an estimated $40-million increase in his net worth, through his investment in Meota Resources Corp., a hot startup riding the comeback of the junior oil and gas sector. While shy, the six-foot-two bachelor also significantly increased his public profile by rescuing ski resort supremo Charlie Locke from bankruptcy protection and taking a half interest in Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, the largest private ski resort company in North America. Mr. Edwards also increased his stake in the Calgary Flames hockey team to close to 20% and is leading a campaign to keep the struggling club in the city.

50 De GaspŽ Beaubien family Montreal, Vancouver $540-million Media (New to list)

Siblings Philippe III (41), Nanon (41) and Francois (39) are out to end the de GaspŽ Beaubien curse:throughout the family's 11 generations in North America, it has never managed to successfully pass on a family business. Philippe II, 74, left them in charge of his Telemedia radio and magazine company in 1997 to focus on helping other families handle succession through his Business Families Foundation; his kids have sold off almost everything since then and are looking for a new business opportunity.

METHODOLOGY AND INDEX: RULES OF THE RICH:

Determining the net worth of the 50 richest people in Canada is not an exact science, nor is it a blind guessing game. It is, however, time-consuming work, subject to a few rules and guidelines:

- List members had to be Canadian citizens and possess an estimated net worth of $500-million.

- Shares in public companies were priced using the April 4, 2002, market close.

- Private companies were valued based on a multiple of cash flows, earnings or sales. Where this information was not readily available, we relied on estimates by industry experts.

- Real estate values were based on estimates of a property's net operating income and capitalization rate by local experts.

- Where companies were owned by trusts or family arrangements, we evaluated each situation on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, the wealth was attributed to a family as a whole -- although we preferred to credit the person who either created or controlled the fortune.

- Foundations and charitable trusts do not count as personal wealth.

- Some list members provided information used to calculate their net worth. Where possible, we attempted to independently verify this information.

- We were deliberately conservative in valuing private fortunes; one can safely assume most, if not all our list members, are worth more than our estimates.

THE ABCS OF WEALTH:  (alphabetical)
Name Rank Net worth $
28 Adams, Marcel (33) 940M
23 Asper, Israel (26) 1,210M
11 Azrieli, David (14) 2,320M
46 Beamish, Bob (NEW) 610M
3 Bombardier family (3) 4,560M
10 Bronfman, Charles (4) 2,380M
36 Burnett brothers (41) 805M
13 Coutu, Jean (16) 2,210M
32 Dan, Leslie (32) 850M
50 De GaspŽ Beaubien (NEW) 540M
15 DeGroote, Michael (30) 1,910M
29 De Zen, Vic (38) 935M
8 Desmarais, Paul Sr. (11) 2,790M
50 Edwards, Murray (NEW) 540M
22 Feldberg, Saul (23) 1,240M
26 Fidani, Carlo (29) 1,130M
7 Irving family (6) 3,200M
41 Jackman, Hal (44) 750M
27 Jarislowsky, Stephen (35) 1,000M
30 Joyce, Ronald (34) 915M
35 Julien, Bobby-Delia Moog (NEW) 830M
33 Katz, Daryl (NEW) 850M
40 Kruger family (39) 760M
43 LalibertŽ, Guy (NEW) 650M
37 Lalji family (NEW) 790M
18 Lee-Chin, Michael (19) 1,710M
14 Mannix family (13) 2,000M
24Matthews, Terry (5) 1,200M
19 McCain, Harrison (18) 1,440M
17 McCain, Wallace (17) 1,720M
6 Melnyk, Eugene (8) 3,330M
25 Miller, Robert (24) 1,200M
49 Muzzo, Marco (NEW) 550M
4 Pattison, Jim (9) 3,810M
45 Potter, Michael (48) 635M
20 Reichmann family (27) 1,390M
21 Richardson family (28) 1,280M
16 Rogers, Ted (15) 1,860M
44 Samuel, Liz (43) 640M
12 Saputo family (22) 2,310M
31 Schwartz, Gerry (37) 895M
39 Shaw, JR (40) 765M
9 Sherman, Barry (7) 2,730M
47 Sirois, Charles (31) 565M
5 Skoll, Jeff (10) 3,430M
38 Slaight, Allan (36) 775M
34 Sobey family (NEW) 850M
42 Stronach, Frank (NEW) 680M
48 Tanenbaum, Larry (NEW) 555M
1 Thomson, Ken (1) 27,710M
2 Weston, Galen (2) 10,240M
*Numbers in parentheses refer to the 2001 l
ist

- Compiled Peter Brieger, Claudia Cattaneo, Mark Evans, Paul Haavardsrud, Drew Hasselback, Keith Kalawsky, Garry Marr, Hollie Shaw, Barbara Shecter, Sean Silcoff and Robert Thompson   National Post       25 May 2002

 


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