While tax legislation has not been particularly kind to Canada’s wealthiest citizens lately, with any income over $221,708 being taxed at 33%, the number of billionnaires in the country is seeing a slight rise compared to last year. As of July 2023, the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List reveals that there are 66 entrepreneurs with billion-dollar fortunes operating in Canada, which is actually two more than in 2022.
A closer look at the list compiled by Forbes shows that less than half (30 out of 66) of those listed are self-made billionaires who were born in Canada. This ratio got our team at SuperCasinoSites curious and we decided to examine the provinces and cities where the wealthiest Canadians were born, to see whether being born in these locations had any correlation with the likelihood of becoming a self-made billionaire.
It turns out that you are most likely to become a billionaire if you were born in the province of Saskatchewan, as it has the highest number of self-made billionaires per capita in Canada. On the other hand, in terms of cities, Montreal and Toronto have produced the most billionnaires, with an impressive six each.
In order to isolate Canada’s self-made billionaires only, we thoroughly examined the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List (data current as of 26th July, 2023) and sifted out any billionaires who were born outside of Canada, and any who owe their fortune to an inheritance, court decision, or any other circumstances unrelated to their entrepreneurial success. This left us with 30 self-made Canadian-born billionaires, eliminating 13 who inherited, or married into, their fortune, and 23 born outside of Canada. Our team then calculated the number of billionaires in each Canadian province per 100,000 residents, using the population figures in the latest official estimates published on 28th June, 2023, by Statistics Canada.
Canadian Cities with the Highest Number of Self-Made Billionaires
Toronto, with its 2,794,356 residents as per the latest data from Statistics Canada, is the most populous city in the country. It is no wonder then that it is one of the two locations to have birthed the greatest number of self-made billionaires in Canada. Toronto’s six self-made billionaires includes Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, and the MLS’ Toronto FC.
While Toronto’s statistics are laudable, it is slightly less impressive when compared to Montreal, which has also given rise to six self-made billionaires while simultaneously having more than a million fewer residents than Toronto. The wealthiest among these is the owner of the Aston Martin Formula 1 Team, Lawrence Stroll, whose current net worth is estimated at $3.8 billion.
Vancouver, one of the country’s most densely populated cities, is the birthplace of the richest Canadian self-made billionaire, David Cheriton, whos net worth is $10.70 billion. Wineries owner Anthony von Mandl and Brandt Louie who heads up grocery and pharmaceutical retail chains in Canada, were also born in Vancouver, bringing the total number of Vancouver-born self-made billionaires to a respectable three.
Our research revealed that Saguenay, Québec City, and Winnipeg have each produced two self-made billionaires. Saguenay’s population of 148,497 residents is by far the most modest of the three, compared to 549,459 residents and 749,607 residents respectively. Saguenay, therefore, has the best per capita ratio of Québec cities, with 1.35 self-made billionaires per 100,000 individuals.
The eight Canadian cities of Lund, Kamloops, Burlington, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Calgary have each produced only one self-made billionaire. At the two extremes, we see Lund and Calgary with populations of 292 and 1,306,784 residents, respectively. This list unequivocally proves that the size and population of a city does not always determine the likelihood of its residents becoming billionaires.
Which province has the Best Chance of Creating self-made Billionaires?
While concrete figures are easier to grasp, the ratio between locally-born billionaires and average-income residents more accurately demonstrates the self-made billionaire birthing potential of a particular location. A good example of this ratio’s importance is the province of Québec, which has given birth to the most self-made billionaires in Canada, with an awe-inspiring 11. However, since Québec is the second most populous Canadian region with 8,831,257 residents, it only ranks 3rd in terms of billionaires per capita, with a ratio of 0.12 per 100,000 individuals.
Canadian provinces Ranked by Billionaires per Capita
|Province||No. Self-Made Billionaires||Population as of Q2 2023||Billionaires per 100,000 Residents|
Our research shows that the probability of becoming a Canadian self-made billionaire is the greatest if you were born in Saskatchewan. With a population of 1,221,439 people, this province has given birth to two self-made billionaires: Jim Pattison, CEO and sole owner of Canada’s second largest privately-held company, and Canadian oil sands financier, Norman Murray Edwards. This accounts for a ratio of 0.16 billionaires per 100,000 residents born in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba is another province boasting two self-made billionaires born within its boundaries, Bruce Flatt, CEO of Brookfield Asset Management, and the founder, chairman and CEO of Onex Corporation, Gerald Schwartz. With 1,444,190 residents, a slightly higher number of residents than Saskatchewan, Manitoba has the second-highest self-made billionaires per capita ratio of all Canadian provinces, with 0.14 billionaires per 100,000 individuals.
The population of British Columbia is currently estimated at 5,437,722, and with five self-made billionaires born in the province, our calculations show that the billionaires per capita ratio is 0.09 per 100,000 residents. This puts British Columbia squarely in 4th place with regards to the chances of local-born Canadians becoming self-made billionaires.
With nearly equal per capita ratios of 0.05 and 0.04 self-made billionaires per 100,000 residents, Ontario and Alberta hold 5th and 6th position in the current ranking. Ontario, which has 15,500,632 residents, has given birth to eight self-made billionaires, while the much less populous Alberta, with 4,703,772 residents, has produced two.
Canadian Billionaires Born Outside of Canada
While all 66 of the wealthy individuals ranked in the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List for Canada hold Canadian citizenship, a significant portion of them were actually born outside of Canada. According to our research, 34.85%, or 23 billionaires, started their journeys in other parts of the world. The majority of foreign-born Canadian billionaires hail from China (6), followed by India (3), and then by Germany, Italy, and Ukraine with 2 self-made Canadian billionaires each.
|Country||Billionaires||Number of billionaires|
|China||Changpeng Zhao, Chulong Huang, Zhang Ning, Yuan Liping, Zhao Tongtong, Guo Zhenyu||6|
|India||Apoorva Mehta, Bill Malhotra, V. Prem Watsa||3|
|Italy||Emanuele (Lino) Saputo, Francesco Saputo||2|
|Germany||Tobi Lutke, Stephen Jarislowsky||2|
|Ukraine||Alex Shevchenko, Max Lytvyn||2|
|South Africa||Jack Cockwell||1|
|UK||Terence (Terry) Matthews||1|
|Hong Kong||Pan Dong||1|
This group includes three of the very few female billionaires operating in Canada – Zhao Tongtong, Zhang Ning, and Pan Dong. The richest foreign-born Canadian self-made billionaire is Changpeng Zhao, widely known as CZ, who is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance. According to Forbes, his current net worth is estimated at $10.2 billion.
|Name||Net Worth (Billion)||Age||Source of Income||Province||Country||City|
|Self-made billionaires born in Canada|
|Bob Gaglardi||$3.70||82||Hotels||British Columbia||Canada||Kamloops|
|Stewart Butterfield||$1.50||50||Messaging software||British Columbia||Canada||Lund|
|Stewart Butterfield||$1.50||50||Messaging software||British Columbia||Canada||Lund|
|David Cheriton||$10.70||72||British Columbia||Canada||Vancouver|
|Anthony von Mandl||$10.40||73||Alcoholic beverages||British Columbia||Canada||Vancouver|
|Brandt Louie||$1.50||80||Drugstores||British Columbia||Canada||Vancouver|
|Bruce Flatt||$3.20||58||Money management||Manitoba||Canada||Winnipeg|
|Stephen Smith||$3.50||72||Finance and investments||Ontario||Canada||Ottawa|
|Mitchell Goldhar||$2.50||62||Real estate||Ontario||Canada||Toronto|
|Jay Hennick||$1.80||66||Real estate finance||Ontario||Canada||Toronto|
|Mark Leonard & family||$3.30||67||Software||Ontario||Canada||Toronto|
|Jean Coutu & family||$3.20||96||Drugstores||Québec||Canada||Montreal|
|Robert G. Miller||$1.80||78||Electronics components||Québec||Canada||Montreal|
|Philip Fayer||$1.20||45||Online payments||Québec||Canada||Montreal|
|Guy Laliberté||$1.20||63||Cirque du Soleil||Québec||Canada||Québec City|
|Richard Fortin||$1.70||74||Convinience stores||Québec||Canada||Québec City|
|Alain Bouchard||$6.60||74||Convinience stores||Québec||Canada||Saguenay|
|Serge Godin||$2.90||73||Information technology||Québec||Canada||Saguenay|
|Réal Plourde||$1.10||Convenience stores||Québec||Canada||n/a|
|Jacques D’Amours||$3.20||66||Convenience stores||Québec||Canada||Montreal|
|N. Murray Edwards||$2.70||63||Oil & gas||Saskatchewan||Canada||Regina|
|Canadian-born billionaires who inherited or married into their fortune|
|James Irving||$5.70||95||Diversified||New Brunswick||Canada||Saint John|
|Arthur Irving||$5.70||93||Oil||New Brunswick||Canada||Saint John|
|Michael McCain||$1.10||packaged meats||New Brunswick||Canada||Florenceville-Bristol|
|David Thomson & family||$57.60||66||Media||Ontario||Canada||Toronto|
|Hal Jackman||$1.80||91||Insurance, investments||Ontario||Canada||Toronto|
|Carlo Fidani||$4.90||68||Real estate||Ontario||Canada||Toronto|
|Pierre Karl Péladeau||$2.00||61||Media||Québec||Canada||Montreal|
|Naomi Azrieli||$1.20||57||Real estate||Québec||Canada||Montreal|
|Sharon Azrieli||$1.20||62||Real estate||Québec||Canada||Montreal|
|Billionaires born outside of Canada|
|Changpeng Zhao||$10.20||46||Cryptocurrency exchange||n/a||China|
|Chulong Huang||$2.10||64||Real estate||n/a||China|
|Guo Zhenyu & family||$1.50||59||Cosmetics||n/a||China|
|Stephen Jarislowsky||$1.50||97||Money management||n/a||Germany|
|Pan Dong||$2.30||58||Consumer goods||n/a||Hong Kong|
|Apoorva Mehta||$1.00||Grocery delivery service||n/a||India|
|Bill Malhotra||$1.90||73||Real estate||n/a||India|
|V. Prem Watsa||$1.30||72||Insurance, investments||n/a||India|
|Mark Scheinberg||$5.20||49||Online gambling||n/a||Israel|
|Emanuele (Lino) Saputo & family||$4.50||86||Cheese||n/a||Italy|
|Michael Lee-Chin||$1.40||72||Mutual funds||n/a||Jamaica|
|Leonid Boguslavsky||$4.60||72||Venture capital||n/a||Russia|
|Jack Cockwell||$1.80||82||Real estate, private equity||n/a||South Africa|
|Terence (Terry) Matthews||$1.60||80||Telecom||n/a||United Kingdom|