thomson family toronto

Toronto's richest family made more than $8 billion throughout the pandemic

Say what you will about how the pandemic is shrinking your savings account, but everything's looking tip top for Canadians who were born into wealth — better than ever, even, in some cases!

A Toronto-based family descended from the literal British aristocracy have added a cool $8.2 billion to their portfolio since COVID-19 rolled into town, shaking up life as we know it and killing hundreds of local businesses (not to mention nearly 2,000 human beings.) 

"David Thomson & family" now have a net worth of $39.8B, according to the newly-updated Forbes billionare list, up from $31.6B in April of 2020, when the list was last updated.

Listed as number 24 on the Forbes list, Thomson is by far the richest person in Canada — the next-wealthiest person listed is Alibaba founder Joseph Tsai ($11.8B,) followed by the Westons (they of Loblaw's fame who boast a current wealth estimate of $8.5B.)

According to Forbes, Thomson and his family "control a media and publishing empire founded by his grandfather Roy Thomson."

The company's largest holding is in their namesake media brand, Thomson Reuters, but they also hold a large stake in Bell Canada and own the Globe and Mail.

The family's oldest-living patriarch, 63, Thomson took over from his father as chairman of the Thomson Corporation in 2006. He also inherited his father's noble title of Baron Thomson of Fleet.

It's no secret that ultra-wealthy folk have been earning tons of cash throughout the pandemic, just as it's no secret that independent business owners have been struggling amid rolling government-imposed lockdowns.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported in September that the country's top millionaires made an additional $37 billion combined during the six first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this trend has been observed all around the world.

It's hard to begrudge someone for being born into wealth and power — Thomson didn't choose to be a baron, and apparently he's quite hard-working and smart.

It is, however, a bit of a kick in the teeth for average working people to see the rich get even richer on the back of a global pandemic.

Are the Thomsons obscenely rich? For sure — but nobody in Canada even comes close to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has netted a staggering $74.5B since last spring.

The world's richest (and by some counts most-hated) man, Bezos currently has a net worth of $187.5B — more than a third of which was earned between April and September of 2020.

Lead photo by

Gary Baker

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