The Canadian 2008-09 Rich 100

At 40 years old with a net worth of $4.25 billion, Alex Shnaider is Canada's youngest billionaire.

From: Canadian Business (Winter 2008/2009)
[N.B. - Cutoff date for stock prices and exchange rates was Nov. 3, 2008.]

RANK: #1
WHO: Thomson Family
NET WORTH: $18.45 billion
INDUSTRIES: Media and information distribution
COMPANIES: Thomson Reuters, Woodbridge Co. Ltd.
FYI: Thomson Corp. completed its acquisition of Reuters Group PLC for $16.5 billion on April 17. The new company combines the journalism and market analysis of Reuters with Thomson's massive databases aimed at those working in science, law and accounting. David Thomson, 51, assumed the role of chairman at Thomson Reuters.

Galen Weston
$6.58 billion
Food, groceries, real estate, retail
George Weston Ltd., Loblaw Cos. Ltd.
In July, the company unveiled its first environmental flagship store in Scarborough, Ont. The store uses recycled heat, among other innovations, to reduce its carbon footprint.

Edward (Ted) Rogers
$5.05 billion
Cable TV, communications, pro sports
Rogers Communications Inc.
Rogers Communications reported an 84% rise in third-quarter net income, largely due to offering Apple's popular iPhone 3G to Canadian customers.

James Pattison
$4.93 billion
Auto sales, food, media, forestry products, entertainment and export services
Jim Pattison Group
Starting as a single car dealership in 1961, the Jim Pattison Group has turned into the third-largest private company in Canada. In February, the group bought the Guinness World Records company for an undisclosed price. The group now boasts interests that include car dealerships, supermarkets and Ripley's Believe It or Not tourist attractions.

Alex Shnaider
$4.25 billion
Steel, real estate, food production and retail
Midland Resources Holding Ltd.
While increasing investments in Russian real estate, Canada's youngest billionaire is also rapidly increasing his chain of convenience mini-marts in the Ukraine. His company, Midland Group, was set to open 110 more stores before the end of this year until the current economic crisis forced them to change their development plans; 55 stores are already in operation. Shnaider also bought an 80% stake in the Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club.

Paul Desmarais Sr.
$4.11 billion
Financial services, energy
Power Corp. of Canada
Earlier this year, Power Corp.'s Desmarais was presented France's highest distinction, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. During the presentation, President Nicolas Sarkozy conceded that he owes his position, in part, to the advice, friendship and loyalty of Desmarais. Meanwhile, controversial Quebec author Robin Philpot writes in his new book, Behind the Desmarais State: Power, that Desmarais has "unhealthy" relationships with past and present Quebec and Ottawa politicians.

Bernard Sherman
$3.77 billion
Apotex Group of Cos.
Apotex Inc. is Canada's largest generic drug maker.

Jeff Skoll
$3.14 billion
Internet, media
eBay Inc., Participant Media
Skoll's Participant Productions changed its name in 2008 to Participant Media to reflect its expansion into other forms of entertainment beyond film. Skoll, the founding president of eBay and founder and chairman of the Skoll Foundation, also announced additional investments of $19.18 million in the recipients of the 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The investments are designed to help these groups promote change and achieve sustainability.

Carlo Fidani
$2.71 billion
Real estate
Orlando Corp.
The reclusive owner of Orlando Corp. could be the richest Italian in North America. The largest company of its kind in Canada, the real estate construction firm owns and manages properties in excess of 35 million square feet. Its land bank could provide future expansion of more than 1,000 acres in the Greater Toronto Area in addition to its 3,000 acres of business parks.

Michael Lazaridis
$2.59 billion
Mobile communications
Research in Motion Ltd.
RIM opened a research and development centre near the city of Düsseldorf, Germany. The deal was announced in April, and employees began work in the facility in July. RIM is pushing into the lucrative European market and transforming itself from a business-only brand to a player in the global consumer cellphone market.
Father of the Blackberry
Accounting Controversy

Allan Slaight
$1.95 billion
Standard Broadcasting Corp. Ltd.
Allan's son Gary remains on the board at Astral Media Inc. after the $1.1-billion sale of the family's Standard Radio Inc. to the company last year. He has also stayed involved in the broadcast business in general. Gary is a key investor in Glassbox TV Inc., a "digitally-savvy" media company aimed at a younger audience, and a backer of the Fight Network, which airs a combination of wrestling, boxing and mixed martial arts.

Guy Laliberte
$1.47 billion
Cirque du Soleil
Laliberté sold 20% of Cirque du Soleil to a pair of companies owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, but he will maintain control of the world-famous circus he founded in 1984. In addition to his work with the Cirque, he created the One Drop Foundation, which aims to provide access to safe drinking water. Laliberté was awarded an honorary doctorate from Laval University.

David Cheriton
$1.29 billion
Google Inc.
David R. Cheriton
is a Canadian-born computer science professor at Stanford University and a billionaire as a result of his investments in technology companies. He received his Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Waterloo in 1974 and 1978, respectively, and spent three years as an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia before moving to Stanford.
Cheriton co-founded Granite Systems with Andy Bechtolsheim, a company developing gigabit Ethernet products, acquired by Cisco Systems in 1996. He was also a co-founder, in 2001, of Bechtolsheim's next startup company, Kealia, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2004. Cheriton is also credited for connecting Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page with venture capitalists at Kleiner Perkins, thus becoming one of the early investors that helped get Google off the ground. Recently, David Cheriton has been involved with Arastra (now Arista Networks), a maker of 10-Gigabit Ethernet switches. Cheriton is also an investor in and advisory board member for frontline data warehouse company Aster Data Systems. (Wikipedia)

Douglas Fregin
$1.03 billion
Mobile communications
Research in Motion Ltd.
When he and his buddy Mike Lazaridis took out a $15,000 loan from Mike's parents in 1984 to start a business, Fregin surely couldn't have imagined he would one day be able to retire as a billionaire at age 47. While he was never one of the public faces of the company he cofounded, Research In Motion Ltd., the former vice-president of operations' stamp was all over its products. In fact, it still is. Last spring, RIM was assigned a U.S. patent for a "spark gap apparatus" that Fregin had applied for at the end of 2006 before he retired.

Stewart Blusson
$871 million
Ekati Diamond Mine, Archon Minerals Ltd.
Geologist Blusson struck it rich in the early 1990s when he and Charles Fipke discovered the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories. Now, Blusson is giving other scientists a chance to rake in the cash. Archon Minerals Ltd., his diamond company headquartered in Vancouver, is the sponsor of the Archon X Prize for Genomics. Administered by the Playa Vista, Calif.-based X Prize Foundation, which promotes radical scientific breakthroughs, the US$10-million prize will be awarded to a team with a device that can sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days.

Victor Li
$824 million
Oil and gas, investing, utilities, telecommunications, retail
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., Trinity Time Investments Inc.
Membership in one of Hong Kong's wealthiest families has its privileges. Among them: Li was one of 120 people selected to carry the Olympic torch through Hong Kong during the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics. More significantly, he is widely expected to succeed his father, legendary businessman and billionaire investor Li Ka-shing, as head of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. That would put him in charge of an extensive empire that includes real estate, banks, media and container ports. The younger Li is not doing badly himself: for his various roles in the family business, he reportedly earned more than $15 million in 2007.

Larry Rossy
$801 million
Dollarama Group LP
Canada's dollar-store king built his Dollarama chain into a powerhouse before selling 80% to Bain Capital in 2004 for $1 billion. The chain continued to grow and now has 536 stores. Rossy's grandfather Salim, a Lebanese-born peddler, opened a store in Montreal in 1910; Rossy grew up a five-and-dime disciple, owning 44 of them before opening a dollar store in 1992 at a landlord's suggestion. It was an immediate hit. Rossy is still CEO and head buyer; his specialty is finding items that sell for $10 elsewhere that he can knock off and source directly from Asia to sell for $1. Dollarama will begin charging up to $2 for items in 2009.

Peter Nygard
$676 million
Nygard International Ltd.
The international fashion mogul was audited this year and went to court to battle a $16-million tax bill from the federal government. Finnish-born Nygård said he shouldn't have to pay because he is a resident of the Bahamas, but the feds claim, at least for the years 1995 and 1996, that Nygård was Canadian enough to pay taxes here. The designer's business certainly is growing in Canada, with eight massive Nygård Fashion "concept stores" opened in 2008 across the country. The 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot locations include a café, online kiosk, travel agency, dry cleaner and tailors; two more concept stores are planned for the next year.

Isadore Sharp
$544 million
Four Seasons Hotels Inc.
Four Seasons Hotels Inc., the hotel chain founded by Sharp, opened eight new hotels and resorts around the world this year, including locations in Mumbai, Florence, Bora Bora and Seattle. In July, a groundbreaking ceremony for the $500-million Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences development in downtown Toronto had performers from Circus Orange plunge from cranes to pass engraved shovels to Sharp and other execs involved. The price tags for condos in the residential portion of the two towers start at $1.9 million and the penthouse is priced at $30 million. The project is slated for completion in late 2011.

Aldo Bensadoun
Aldo Group Inc.
Using a combination of celebrities, advertising and events, Aldo Group Inc. has made its brand synonymous with the fight against AIDS. Now the company is tackling environmental issues using one of its most common tools: the shoebox. The shoe store chain's latest social campaign, Aldo Next Step, aims to reduce shopping bag use by 40% this year, and 70% by the end of 2009, with the help of a shoebox designed with a handle. Both boxes and bags are made with recycled materials.
Company History

Chip Wilson
$483 million
Lululemon Athletica
Wilson is the founder of Vancouver-based clothing manufacturer Lululemon Athletica. Famed for its super-stretchy yogawear (sold at wallet-stretching prices), the company went public in both Canada and the U.S. last year. Its shares initially soared, landing Wilson on the Rich 100, but in 2008 the stock has had a rockier run. Its price - which almost hit $50 in December 2007 - dropped to $14.60 on Nov. 3, which pushed Wilson out of the billionaire's club.

The Rich 100


We Did Not Hate You

NOW Magazine (Jan. 1 - 7, 2009)
It was easy to miss, since the world's attention was focused elsewhere, but this week's aerial attack on Gaza is actually the culmination of a two-month-long assault by Israeli forces that started with the choking off of humanitarian aid and basic supplies to the Strip after ceasefire talks broke off. Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants have been reduced to bare survival ever since. An excerpt on the worsening situation from Amnesty International's December 5 report:

Most mills have shut down because they have little or no grain. People long deprived of many food items now cannot even find bread at times. Families never know if they will have food for their children. When people do have food, they generally have no gas or electricity with which to cook it.
Shortages of fuel, electricity and spare parts are causing water and sanitation infrastructure and other crucial services to deteriorate a bit more every day. Eighty per cent of the wells are now only functioning at reduced capacity, and water supply is only available for a few hours every few days.
Shortages of chlorine increase the risk of water-borne diseases. Routine blackouts disrupt every aspect of life for everyone.
Hospitals are struggling to power life-saving machinery. Patients in need of medical treatment unavailable in Gaza are often denied passage out of Gaza. Scores of people have died in the past year when they could have been saved.
Targeting civilians can never be justified, no matter what the reason.

We did not hate you. We did not want to harm you. We wanted to protect our family, our children.
-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert / Cease-fire press conference / Jan. 17 - 09

Conflict in Gaza: Day 21