Canada’s wealthiest woman is Victoria’s Sherry Brydson, whose holdings are valued at $6.5 billion, says the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, released this week.
Brydson is a member of the Thomson media empire family, and is ranked as the third richest Canadian, following Vancouver’s Jim Pattison, at $9.5 billion, and Galen Weston, with $8.7 billion.
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Brydson owns at least 23 per cent of Woodbridge, the Ontario-based firm that manages the Thomson family assets. This include a 55 per cent stake in Thomson Reuters Corp., the world’s largest financial data company.
Through Westerkirk Capital, her Toronto-based family office, she owns Viking Air in North Saanich, which is manufacturing a revived edition of the Twin Otter airplane for global customers, the Moose FM radio network in Ontario, and a hotel developer in Nova Scotia. A Brydson spokesman said Wednesday that the family has no comment.
“Most people don’t know she exists,” Trevor Cole, a novelist and journalist who has written about the family, said from Toronto. “People who read the paper know the name Thomson and know that they are rich people, but beyond that they have no sense of them.”
Brydson, whose age couldn’t be confirmed, is one of six members of the Thomson family who have never appeared on an international wealth ranking. She and four of her first cousins are the first Canadian women to be identified as billionaires, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Pattison moved into top spot after new information revealed that David K.R. Thomson, an heir to the Thomson media empire and Brydson’s cousin, owns a smaller stake in his family’s investment company than previously reported. Thomson had previously been in top spot.
Being named the wealthiest Canadian came as news to Pattison.
“I haven’t done the numbers, so I really don’t know,” Pattison said in an interview with Bloomberg. “I never pay attention to that.”
Pattison’s business interests include automobile dealerships, grocery stores, radio and newspaper companies, fishing, advertising and more.
He is a generous benefactor, having donated millions, mostly to hospitals. In 1999, Pattison gave $20 million to Vancouver General Hospital for a prostate research centre, and in 2011 a $5-million donation to Surrey Memorial Hospital for an outpatient care and surgery centre.
For five years in the 1980s, Pattison was in the public eye daily as the chairman of Vancouver’s highly successful world’s fair, Expo 86. He was paid a dollar a year for his services.
Weston heads the Loblaw Companies Ltd., including the Real Canadian Superstore, and features brands such as Joe Fresh and President’s Choice. — With the Vancouver Sun