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Meet some of Canada's richest grocers

Canadian Business ranks the wealthiest individuals and families in the country

In its 17th annual report on the richest people in Canada, Canadian Grocer‘s sister publication Canadian Business celebrates both the upper-crust establishment figures who dominate the society pages and the self-starters who built their empires from scratch (and are busily dismantling the ones that came before).

Read the full list of Canada’s Richest People 2016 here, or see below for a list of grocers and food manufacturing execs who made the cut.

21. Sobey Family
Total Net Worth: $3.19 billion

The Sobey family has retreated from the front lines of the grocery chain that bears its name: Paul Sobey stepped down as CEO of the Empire Co. at the end of 2013, and David and Donald Sobey retired from the board this year. The company’s purchase of Safeway two years ago hasn’t gone smoothly, thwarted by software integration problems, and the company expanded its reach in Western Canada just as oil prices collapsed to dampen consumer spending.

17. Estate of Wallace McCain
Total Net Worth: $3.55 billion

The McCain family has a well-documented history of infighting. Wallace McCain was exiled from McCain Foods after a family disagreement, leading him to Maple Leaf Foods. That company, one of Canada’s biggest meat processors, is currently under the stewardship of Wallace’s son, Michael. The company is slowly returning to profitability as it nears the end of a major restructuring plan.

16. Alain Bouchard
Total Net Worth: $3.89 billion

Letting go is hard to do. Just ask Alain Bouchard. Less than a year after retiring as CEO of convenience giant Alimentation Couche-Tard, the executive chairman, along with his three co-founders, put forward a resolution to extend their time-limited voting control–the group holds 22% of the company’s equity–to ward off any future takeover attempts. To Bouchard’s admitted shock, proxies indicated support for the plan was well below the 67% required to pass, and the resolution was withdrawn. It may not matter. With a market capitalization north of $30 billion, Couche-Tard makes a hard target. And with the synergies expected to flow from its consolidation of its various brands under the Circle K moniker, it’ll get harder still.

14. Daryl Katz
Total Net Worth: $4.14 billion

Daryl Katz is the founder and chairman of the Katz Group of Cos., with businesses in pharmacy, real estate development, and sports and entertainment. He owns the Rexall chain of pharmacies, which has 460 locations across Central and Western Canada. Katz also owns the Edmonton Oilers and is currently building a new $480-million arena, the centerpiece of a $6-billion downtown development project. This past spring, Katz announced he’s going into the movie business. His newest company, Silver Pictures Entertainment, is a partnership with veteran producer Joel Silver to produce and finance feature films, television and digital content.

8. Saputo Family
Total Net Worth: $6.43 billion

With $500 and a bicycle to make deliveries, Giuseppe Saputo founded the eponymous dairy company in Montreal in 1954. His grandchildren run the $12-billion multinational corporation today, one of the Top 10 dairy producers in the world. Saputo’s growth strategy stresses patience: CEO Lino Saputo Jr. waited 12 years for the opportunity to snap up one of the biggest dairy operations in Australia in 2014.

7. James “Jimmy” Pattison
Total Net Worth: $6.89 billion

Known in Vancouver as the man who rescued Expo 86 and helped get the 2010 Olympic bid over the finish line, Jim Pattison was called upon again in 2015, this time by Metro Vancouver mayors trying to promote a 0.5% sales tax to pay for road and transit improvements. Alas, the 86-year-old wasn’t able to work his magic for a third time—it was voted down in a referendum. Among Pattison's food holdings: Overwaitea Food Group, Buy-Low Foods and two seafood companies: Oceans Brands and Canadian Fishing Company

2. Galen Weston
Total Net Worth: $13.67 billion

Galen Weston may no longer have an active role in the day-to-day operations of the family business, but he isn’t ready to retire, either. The industrious 74-year-old continues to chair George Weston Ltd., the food-processing and distribution company founded by his grandfather in 1882. He also owns a portfolio of high-end department stores, which includes Selfridges in England and Holt Renfrew in Canada. Weston has been well-served over the years, but Holts faces new competition from Nordstrom, as the U.S. retailer slowly expands into Canada.

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