Fortunes have been made in Montreal through a combination of factors and industries. One of the key drivers of wealth creation in the city is entrepreneurship. Montreal’s vibrant startup ecosystem has provided a platform for individuals with innovative ideas and business acumen to launch and grow successful ventures. Entrepreneurs in various sectors, such as technology, biotechnology, and creative industries, have been able to capitalize on market opportunities and create significant wealth.
Additionally, Montreal’s real estate market has played a crucial role in generating fortunes. Property developers, investors, and landlords have benefited from the city’s growing demand for residential and commercial spaces. They have seized opportunities to acquire and develop properties, capitalizing on real estate appreciation and rental income.
The finance and investment sector in Montreal has also contributed to wealth creation. The city is home to banks, investment firms, and venture capital funds that have supported entrepreneurs and businesses in their growth initiatives. Professionals in finance and investment have leveraged their expertise to identify promising opportunities and generate substantial returns on investments.
Furthermore, Montreal’s established industries, such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing, have also created wealth for individuals and companies. Successful businesses in these sectors have been able to secure lucrative contracts, expand their operations, and generate significant profits.
The Saputo family is a prominent Canadian family known for their involvement in the dairy industry, particularly through their company Saputo Inc. The family’s roots trace back to Italy, where Lino Saputo Sr., the patriarch of the family, was born in Montelepre, Sicily, in 1937.
Lino Saputo Sr. immigrated to Canada with his family in 1952 and settled in Montreal, Quebec. In 1954, he started a small cheese-making business called Saputo Cheese Company. Over the years, the business grew steadily, and through strategic acquisitions and expansions, it became one of the largest dairy processors in Canada.
Saputo Inc. went public in 1997 and has since become a global leader in the dairy industry. The company produces and markets a wide range of dairy products, including cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt. Saputo Inc. operates in several countries, including Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The Saputo family, led by Lino Saputo Sr., has played a crucial role in the growth and success of Saputo Inc. Lino Saputo Sr. served as the company’s chairman of the board until his retirement in 2004. He was succeeded by his son, Lino Saputo Jr., who took over as the company’s chairman and CEO.
Under the leadership of Lino Saputo Jr., Saputo Inc. continued to expand its operations globally, acquiring various dairy companies in North America, Australia, and Europe. The company’s growth strategy focused on both organic growth and strategic acquisitions, allowing them to strengthen their market presence and increase their product offerings.
The Saputo family’s success has translated into significant wealth. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Lino Saputo Jr. had a net worth of several billion dollars, making him one of the wealthiest individuals in Canada. The family’s philanthropic efforts have also been noteworthy, with contributions to various charitable causes and initiatives in Canada.
Below: A brief history of Montreal
Paul Desmarais Jr.
The Desmarais family is one of the most influential and wealthy families in Canada. They are primarily known for their association with Power Corporation of Canada, a diversified international management and holding company based in Montreal, Quebec.
The family’s patriarch, Paul Desmarais Sr., was born in Sudbury, Ontario, in 1927. He started his career in finance and founded Power Corporation in 1968. Under his leadership, Power Corporation grew into a multinational conglomerate with interests in various sectors, including finance, insurance, media, and energy.
Power Corporation holds significant ownership stakes in several prominent companies, including Power Financial Corporation, Great-West Lifeco, and IGM Financial. These subsidiaries, in turn, own or have substantial interests in numerous financial institutions, insurance companies, and asset management firms across Canada and internationally.
The Desmarais family has played an instrumental role in shaping the development and growth of Power Corporation. Paul Desmarais Sr.’s sons, André and Paul Jr., have been actively involved in the family business and have held key leadership positions within the company.
André Desmarais, born in 1956, is the eldest son of Paul Desmarais Sr. He has served as the co-CEO of Power Corporation and is also the chairman and co-CEO of Power Financial Corporation. André is known for his extensive network of business connections and his involvement in various philanthropic activities.
Paul Desmarais Jr., born in 1954, is the younger son of Paul Desmarais Sr. He served as the president and co-CEO of Power Corporation and was responsible for the company’s strategic direction and operations. Paul Jr. has been actively involved in international affairs and has played a significant role in expanding Power Corporation’s global reach.
The Desmarais family’s influence extends beyond their business ventures. They have been active participants in Canadian politics and have maintained close ties with political leaders in Canada and around the world. The family’s connections and influence have often attracted attention and scrutiny.
In addition to their business and political engagements, the Desmarais family has been involved in philanthropic endeavors. They have made substantial donations to various educational, cultural, and healthcare institutions in Canada.
David Azrieli was a prominent Canadian-Israeli architect, businessman, and philanthropist. He was born on May 10, 1922, in Maków Mazowiecki, Poland, and passed away on July 9, 2014, in Montreal, Canada. While David Azrieli is associated with Montreal, it’s important to note that his contributions extended beyond the city and encompassed various locations globally.
Azrieli studied architecture at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, and later earned a Ph.D. in architectural design from the University of Montreal. He established himself as a successful architect, designing numerous commercial and residential buildings in Israel, Canada, and the United States.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Azrieli shifted his focus to real estate development and investment. He founded the Azrieli Group, a leading real estate company headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company specializes in the development, acquisition, and management of shopping malls, office buildings, and residential properties.
In Montreal, David Azrieli’s architectural achievements include the design and development of several notable buildings. One of his most recognizable contributions to the Montreal skyline is the iconic “La Tour CIBC” (now known as “1000 de La Gauchetière”), which was completed in 1992. At the time, it was the tallest building in Montreal and remains a prominent landmark today.
Aside from his business ventures, David Azrieli was known for his philanthropic activities. He and his wife, Stephanie Lefcourt Azrieli, established the Azrieli Foundation, which supports various causes, including education, Holocaust education and remembrance, scientific research, and the arts. The foundation has made significant contributions to numerous organizations and initiatives in Canada and Israel.
Jean Coutu is a well-known Canadian entrepreneur and pharmacist who founded the Jean Coutu Group, a prominent pharmacy chain in Quebec, Canada. Born on May 29, 1927, in Montreal, Jean Coutu built a successful business empire and made significant contributions to the Canadian pharmacy industry.
In 1969, Coutu opened his first pharmacy in Montreal, which marked the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey. He recognized the potential for growth in the retail pharmacy sector and sought to provide accessible and quality healthcare services to customers. Over the years, Coutu expanded his business through strategic acquisitions and organic growth, establishing the Jean Coutu Group as a leading pharmacy chain in Quebec.
The Jean Coutu Group operates under the name “PJC Jean Coutu” and consists of a network of pharmacies located primarily in Quebec, but also in other Canadian provinces. The company offers a wide range of pharmaceutical products, health and beauty items, and various other services related to healthcare and wellness.
Under Jean Coutu’s leadership, the company became known for its customer-centric approach, personalized service, and commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare solutions. The Jean Coutu Group has also invested in technology and digital innovations to enhance the customer experience and optimize its operations.
In addition to his entrepreneurial success, Jean Coutu has been actively involved in philanthropy and community initiatives. He established the Fondation Marcelle et Jean Coutu, a charitable foundation that supports various healthcare and educational causes. The foundation has made significant contributions to medical research, scholarships, and community programs in Quebec.
Jean Coutu’s contributions to the pharmacy industry and his entrepreneurial achievements have earned him recognition and accolades. He has received numerous awards, including the Order of Canada, which is one of the highest honors bestowed upon individuals in the country.
In recent years, Jean Coutu has transitioned from his active role in the Jean Coutu Group. In 2017, the company was acquired by Metro Inc., another major Canadian retailer, while Coutu continued to be involved in philanthropic endeavors and remained a prominent figure in the business community.
Dollarama was founded in 1995 by entrepreneur Larry Rossy in Montreal, Quebec. Initially, the company operated as a dollar store wholesaler, supplying merchandise to independent dollar stores. In 1999, Dollarama transitioned into a retail chain, opening its first corporate-owned store in Matane, Quebec.
In 2004, 80 per cent of Dollarama was sold to Bain Capital for (US) $850-million.
Since then, Dollarama has experienced rapid expansion and growth. The company went public in 2009 and is now listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “DOL.” Dollarama has become one of Canada’s largest and most recognizable retail chains, with thousands of stores located in communities across the country.
Dollarama stores offer a wide range of products, including household items, cleaning supplies, party supplies, toys, crafts, seasonal merchandise, food and snacks, health and beauty products, and more. While most items are priced at $4 or below, Dollarama has also introduced some higher-priced items in recent years, known as “Dollar Plus” items, which are typically priced between $1.25 and $4 CAD.
The company’s success can be attributed to its focus on offering customers affordable prices, convenience, and a diverse selection of products. Dollarama follows a low-cost operating model, sourcing products directly from manufacturers and leveraging its scale to negotiate competitive prices.
Dollarama’s commitment to quality control and maintaining a consistent product offering has contributed to its reputation as a trusted retailer. The company has implemented quality assurance measures to ensure the safety and reliability of the products it sells.
Additionally, Dollarama has developed private label brands to offer customers exclusive products at competitive prices. These private label brands span various categories and help differentiate Dollarama from other retailers.
Sources: Canadian Business, ChatGPT