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Stephen Smith

Stephen J. R. Smith, financial services entrepreneur, civic leader, philanthropist (born 2 June 1951 in Ottawa, ON). Stephen Smith is a successful entrepreneur in the financial services industry. He is co-founder, chairman, president and CEO of First National Financial LP, Canada’s largest non-bank mortgage lender, as well as chairman and co-owner of the Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Company, Canada’s third largest mortgage insurance provider. He is also involved in the administration of cultural organizations such as the Royal Ontario Museum, Rideau Hall Foundation and Historica Canada — publisher of The Canadian Encyclopedia — where he has been chair of the board of directors since 2009. The business school at his alma mater, Queen’s University, was named in his honour after his record $50 million gift to the university in 2015. He is a Companion of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame (2019). A licensed pilot, he is renowned among friends and associates for his daredevil approach to his favourite sports, which include heli-skiing and long-distance cycling. As Charles Brindamour, president and chief executive officer of Intact Financial Corp. has said, “Stephen is a force of nature.”

Article

Bronfman Family

Descendants of Russian immigrant tobacco farmer Yechiel (Ekiel) Bronfman and his wife, Mindel, members of the Bronfman family have owned and controlled huge financial empires built from the profits of the family liquor business (see Seagram). The best-known members of the family are Samuel Bronfman, founder of Seagram and president of the Canadian Jewish Congress (1939–62), and his descendants. Samuel’s wife, Saidye Rosner Bronfman, was an influential philanthropist who supported the arts in Canada and was awarded the Order of the British Empire for organizing work on the home front during the Second World War. Sons Edgar and Charles Bronfman ran Seagram for decades, while grandson Edgar Miles Bronfman Jr. oversaw the sale of Seagram to Vivendi. Charles was also co-founder of the Historica Foundation of Canada and Heritage Minutes, as well as chairman and principal owner of the Montreal Expos. His sister Phyllis Lambert is a well-known architect who founded the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Their cousins, Edward and Peter Bronfman (sons of Allan Bronfman), developed a financial empire in their own right. The family has given generously to several charitable organizations and been involved in the Canadian Jewish Congress and World Jewish Congress. 

Article

Charles Bronfman

Charles Rosner Bronfman, PC, CC, businessman and philanthropist (born 27 June 1931 in Montréal, QC). Bronfman was co-chairman of the Bronfman family business, Seagram, the world’s largest producer and distributor of distilled spirits. He also owned the Montreal Expos baseball club from 1968 to 1990. According to Forbes, Bronfman had an estimated net worth of over $2 billion (as of 2017) and was ranked the 16th wealthiest Canadian and 896th wealthiest person in the world. Bronfman is also a dedicated philanthropist. He established the CRB Foundation to promote study of Canadian and Jewish affairs, and co-founded and endowed the Historica Foundation of Canada, which later became Historica Canada (publisher of The Canadian Encyclopedia). He has disbursed approximately $325 million through Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc. (ACBP) and private donations.

Article

Heather Reisman

Heather Maxine Reisman, OC, entrepreneur, business executive (born 28 August 1948 in Montreal, QC). Reisman is best known as the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Indigo Books & Music, Canada’s largest book and specialty toy retailer, and the co-founder of Kobo, a top global e-reader maker. She holds honorary doctorates from several universities and a bachelor’s degree in social work from McGill University.

Article

Saidye Rosner Bronfman

Saidye Rosner Bronfman, OBE, community leader, philanthropist (born 9 December 1896 in Plum Coulee, MB; died 6 July 1995 in Montreal, QC). Saidye Bronfman was a leader in the Jewish community who generously supported the arts and various charities. She received the Order of the British Empire for her work with the Red Cross during the Second World War. Saidye and her husband, Samuel Bronfman, drew from their fortune in the liquor business to create a foundation that continues to fund community groups today.

Article

Mabel Hubbard Bell

Mabel Gardiner Hubbard Bell, aeronautics financier, community leader, social reformer and advocate for the deaf (born 25 November 1857 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; died 3 January 1923 in Chevy Chase, Maryland). Bell actively supported and contributed to the work of her husband, inventor Alexander Graham Bell. Her financial investment in his work made her the first financier of the aviation industry in North America. She was a community leader in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, where the Bell family spent their summers. She was also a social reformer and supported innovation in education.

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Article

Joshua Mauger

Joshua Mauger, colonial entrepreneur, sea captain, politician (baptized 25 April 1725 in the parish of St. John, Jersey; died 18 October 1788 at Warborne, near Lymington, England). Mauger was one of Nova Scotia’s wealthiest and most influential merchants in the 18th century. Although he only spent 11 years in the colony, he exerted significant power in its business and politics for two decades after. His complex involvement with Nova Scotia underscores the bonds of subservience and influence that hindered the colony’s early development. Mauger also enslaved Black people and built a significant portion of his business empire on the labour of enslaved people.

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David O'Brien (Profile)

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on November 16, 1998. Partner content is not updated.

David O’Brien, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific Ltd., is a man who regularly confounds expectations.

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Marty Weinberg (Profile)

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on December 6, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

A newly minted University of Manitoba business school graduate, Marty Weinberg was desperate to get a job. He intended to ask his girlfriend, Gina Frieman, to marry him, and her father, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, was not the type to take kindly to an unemployed son-in-law.

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Bronfman Versus Hollywood

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on May 25, 1998. Partner content is not updated.

Montreal's Bronfman family is no stranger to controversy. After arriving in Canada from Russia in the 1890s, they made a fortune outrunning federal tax collectors and selling whisky to American mobsters. The next generation made headlines tussling over control of the family firm, Seagram Co. Ltd.

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Gwyn Morgan (Profile)

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on January 13, 2003. Partner content is not updated.

BY HIS OWN ACCOUNT, the most powerful man in Canada's OIL patch is, at heart, a simple country boy. Gwyn Morgan, president and chief executive officer of EnCana Corp.

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Bernard Ebbers (Profile)

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on October 20, 1997. Partner content is not updated.

In the late 1950s, Bernard (Bernie) Ebbers liked nothing better than cruising the streets of Edmonton in his red Pontiac. On Saturday nights, he and his friends from Victoria Composite High School would gather at the Kingsway Inn to discuss their favorite topics - girls and sports - over beer.

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John Roth (Profile)

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on August 2, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

John Roth was not at all happy. For two months last winter, a Dallas-based advertising agency had been working on a hip new TV commercial for Nortel Networks Corp., the Canadian telecommunications giant of which Roth, 56, is chief executive officer.

Article

Hunter Harrison

Ewing Hunter Harrison III, president and CEO of Canadian National Railway Company 2003–09, CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited 2012–17 (born 7 November 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee; died 16 December 2017 in Wellington, Florida). Best known as the leading proponent of Precision Scheduled Railroading, Hunter Harrison ran four publicly traded, Class 1 railroads during his more than half century in the industry. His leadership of Canada’s two largest railway companies greatly improved the efficiency and profitability of both businesses.

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Article

Gerry Schwartz

Gerald Wilfred Schwartz, OC, business executive (born 24 November 1941 in Winnipeg, MB). Gerry Schwartz is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Toronto-based Onex Corporation, one of Canada’s largest private equity firms. A successful long-term investor, he has overseen major business deals in more than three decades at the head of Onex. Schwartz was one of 45 Canadians to make the Forbes list of billionaires in 2019, with the magazine estimating his net worth at US $1.6 billion. He has donated millions of dollars to universities, hospitals, charities and cultural organizations.

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Frank Stronach (Profile)

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on September 30, 1996. Partner content is not updated.

Frank Stronach is pointing the toes of his black reptilian cowboy boots in the air, heeling his way through the muck of the hoedown he holds every year near his Beechwood Farm, north of Toronto. He is dressed all in black, with little faux artillery shells running around the band of his cowboy hat.