The wealthy of Canada live throughout the country. There are currently 60 billionaires and over 1.6 million millionaires spread across the Great White North.
Many of the families acquired their riches from inheritances or family businesses. However, whether self-made or through generational wealth, the folks on my list each put in hard work to grow their companies and make savvy investments.
Ready to catch up with the richest in the city? Read on to find out who tops my list of the richest people in Calgary.
It’s easy to overlook Calgary. Most times, when you think of rich and thriving cities within Canada, your first thoughts go to Toronto or Vancouver.
While each of those respective cities has a flourishing wealthy population, Calgary easily walks away as the city with the most millionaires per capita.
So, just how many? The city leads in the most millionaires per capita category- 225 per 100,000 residents. Alberta tops Canada as the richest province.
Not only is it the main hub for oil sands and other natural resources, but it’s also a huge tourist attraction with places like Banff National Park and Lake Louise.
This energy corridor of Alberta is a huge contributor to Canada’s gross domestic product. For 2021, the province’s GDP was $323.1 billion, an increase of over five percent from 2020.
The upticks were almost entirely across the board of most industries, especially food services, mining, oil and gas extraction, as well as healthcare.
1. Daryl Katz
Estimated net worth: $4.36 billion
Katz is the chairman of one of Canada’s largest privately held businesses, the Katz Group of Companies. This conglomerate of enterprises consists of pharmacy, sports, and real estate development.
The bulk of his fortune came from acquiring the Canadian rights to the U.S.-based pharmacy chain The Medicine Shoppe. Shortly after opening the first store in Canada, he formed The Katz Group as a holding company for the pharmacy business.
He continued to grow the company, including purchasing small independent stores and the fading Rexall drugstore chain.
Over time, he ventured into the United States, buying big box discount chain Drug Emporium.
Katz also made his way into the world of professional sports. In 2007, he made two offers to buy the Edmonton Oilers, but got rejected both times.
The following year, he increased his proposal to $200 million and finally acquired the team.
Since then, he’s helped build a new arena, Rogers Place, coined as one of the most advanced sports and entertainment venues throughout the country.
Katz doesn’t just sit on his money, either. He’s donated $7 million to the University of Alberta Faculty of Pharmacy and Faculty of Law.
He’s also very charitable within the healthcare sector, donating $20 million to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and the Health Research Innovation Facility in Edmonton.
2. Fred and Ron Mannix
Estimated net worth: $3.3 billion
The Mannix brother’s grandfather started the family business back in 1898. He purchased horses for $200 and started a railway construction business.
Over time, the railway business grew into road construction, including heavy construction projects.
When Fred and Ron’s father decided to step away from the business, he divided the company into two portions, giving each to his two sons. Fred acquired the Mancal Group.
The company deals in many different avenues, including coal mining, oil and gas exploration, oil and gas transportation, construction, real estate, development, and railway maintenance.
Ron took over Coril Holding. This is a privately held parent company that operates in railway maintenance, real estate development, and personal health and wellness services.
The Mannix family has worked on some of Canada’s biggest projects, including the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Trans-Canada Highway, as well as the Toronto and Montreal subway systems.
3. The Estate of Ronald Southern
Estimated net worth: $2.3 billion
Southern and his father started a business by investing $2,000 each in Alberta Trailer Hire Co. It would later become ATCO. The company rented and sold utility trailers.
In the 1960s, ATCO went public and expanded into the natural gas, petroleum, and electricity industries. Ronald Southern was the head of the company until he passed off control to his daughter, Nancy, in the early 2000s.
In the 1970s, the Southern family built Spruce Meadows, a multisport complex mainly used for competitive equestrian riding. Ronald Southern started the business because his daughter was a competitive rider.
Southern served on the boards of many corporations, including Chrysler Corporation of Canada, Canadian Airlines, and Canadian Pacific.
4. N. Murray Edwards
Estimated net worth: $2.18 billion
Edwards has holdings in the natural gas company Canadian Natural Resources. The company is working towards turning the bitumen-bearing sand in Alberta into crude oil.
In addition, Edwards owns stakes in other oil and aerospace companies, including Ensign Energy, Canada’s second biggest oil services provider, and Magellan Aerospace Corporation.
The majority of Edwards’ wealth from these companies comes from his massive stock options portfolio.
He also owns the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, a combination of six ski resorts located throughout Canada. Edwards moved into the sporting world when he purchased ownership in the professional hockey team, Calgary Flames.
5. The Riddell Family
Estimated net worth: $1.62 billion
Clay Riddell founded Paramount Resources in 1976. The company is involved in all phases of petroleum – from exploration and development to production, processing, and transportation.
As the company grew, the family added various other energy subsidiaries under its name. Today, Jim Riddell is the president and CEO of the company, while his daughter, Sue, oversees Perpetual Energy.
In 2017, Paramount bought the Canadian assets of Apache Corporation, a company involved in hydrocarbon exploration.
6. David Werklund
Estimated net worth: $1.43 billion
Werklund grew up on a farm where he learned the value of hard work and honesty. He got one of his first jobs at Shell Canada as a production manager, which opened his eyes to all the opportunities in the oil business.
He started a servicing company but quickly learned the oilfield business is cyclical and anything but routine. In an effort to gain normalcy, Werklund started a well-servicing company, Concord Well Servicing.
It became one of Canada’s top well-servicing companies, and Werklund eventually added oil processing and waste management to the business. He pioneered the Gravity Compression System, which helped separate solid waste from emulsions.
After years of success, Werklund wanted to give back to the community. He and his wife Susan made the largest donation ever to an educational facility when they contributed $16 million to Olds College.
7. The Shaw Family
Estimated net worth: $1.2 billion
JR Shaw founded Shaw Communications in 1966. The telecommunications company provides internet, telephone, and television services nationally.
The company also has a subsidiary, Freedom Mobile, which furnishes mobile phone service.
Brad Shaw, JR’s son, currently runs the company. In 2021, he entered into a deal in which Rogers would acquire Shaw Communications for $26 million.
The acquisition was subject to regulatory approval, but many opponents pointed out it would reduce competition and likely drive up prices. Both heads of the companies expected the merger to be finalized by the end of 2022.
However, just recently, the request for Rogers to acquire Shaw’s wireless frequencies was denied. The federal government claimed the proposed merger would eliminate “established, independent, and low-priced” competition.
To get around this setback, Shaw is looking to sell Freedom Mobile to Videotron, a subsidy of Quebecor.
The Industry Minister said he would review the revamped merger agreement as long as Videotron maintains the wireless licenses for at least 10 years.
8. Ghermezian Brothers
Estimated net worth: $650 million
The family business started way back in the 1890s in Iran. The lucrative rug business grew, and the Ghermezian Brothers’ father left Iran and moved to Canada, hoping to capitalize on the oil boom.
He set up a company, Triple Five Corp, and acquired farmland throughout Edmonton with the hopes of finding oil. It never happened, and the family eventually sold it to the government, making a lucrative profit.
As the brothers grew up and expanded the company, they began to focus on construction, specifically developing unique shopping malls.
They worked on the Edmonton Mall and Mall of America, but the American Dream Mall in New Jersey is on a different level.
This mall isn’t just for shopping but is also part amusement park and tourist attraction.
Not only does it have stores but also features a water park, ski and snow resort, ice rink, and wave pool. It’s one of the biggest construction projects in the United States.
Influence of Wealthy Individuals on Calgary
Wealthy individuals have influenced Calgary in several ways, ranging from business development to philanthropy and political influence. Here are some examples:
- Business Development: One of the most notable examples is JR Shaw, the founder of Shaw Communications, which has provided a lot of job opportunities and technological advancements in Calgary, contributing to the city’s economy.
- Philanthropy: Many wealthy individuals engage in philanthropy, donating money to causes they care about. In Calgary, these could include local universities, hospitals, arts organizations, and social services. For example, the Taylor Family Foundation donated $40 million to the University of Calgary in 2016 to support entrepreneurship and innovation programs.
- Real Estate: The Southern Family, known for their wealth acquired in oil and gas, has been influential in real estate through Remington Development Corporation. Quarry Park, a major mixed-use development in southeast Calgary, is one of their notable projects.
- Political Influence: Wealthy individuals can also fund political campaigns or lobby for specific policies. For example, Murray Edwards, a billionaire and co-owner of the Calgary Flames, is known for his political contributions and has significant influence in the Alberta oil industry.
- Cultural Influence: Philanthropists like the Taylor family have made significant contributions to Calgary’s cultural scene. For instance, Don Taylor, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, donated $25 million to the Calgary Public Library Foundation, the largest donation in the library’s history.
Calgary is home to many rich people. They are hoping to make a fortune off the rich natural resources the land has to offer.
If you’re looking to find other wealthy people from Alberta, check out this article.