Canadian Business Magazine Says the Irving Family Is Worth $7.38-Billion

Sarah Irving, the executive vice president of Irving Oil, was the keynote speaker at a Port Days luncheon in June. Image: Mark Leger/Huddle.

TORONTO – The Irving Family placed eighth on The Rich 100 list compiled by Canadian Business magazine, dropping down one place in the rankings from last year.

People who follow the business dealings of the family closely think of the J.D. Irving, Limited and Irving Oil sides of the family empire as separate entities. But Canadian Business combines the estimated worth of both sides into one ranking.

Their estimated worth is $7.38-billion, down from $7.65-billion last year.

The magazine noted that the Irvings maintained a high place in the rankings even though TransCanada withdrew their application for the Energy East pipeline.

“The Irvings had their hopes dashed in October when plans were scrapped for the $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline, which would carry over a million barrels of oil from Alberta to Saint John, N.B. every day, some of which would be processed at Irving Oil’s refinery.”

But they did note that the J.D. Irving side of the family had some successes worth noting.

“That’s not to say the year’s been all bad,” the magazine wrote. “They’re expanding their U.S. operations with a new $400-million (U.S.) paper product facility in Macon, Georgia, and they managed to dodge the 20 percent softwood lumber tariff other lumber companies are subject to, negotiating a 3 percent tariff with the U.S., instead.”

The list takes the two sides of the Irving empire as one, but it doesn’t do the same thing with the McCains.

The Estate of Wallace McCain is 16th on the list at $4.51-billion. This side of the family bought into Maple Leaf Foods after the family split in the mid-1990s. The estimated worth of the Estate has doubled in the last seven years.

“The split between Wallace and his brother, Harrison, actually concerned Michael’s suitability to take over the McCain empire,” writes the magazine. “Although Maple Leaf has faced its share of challenges, Michael has proven to be an adept leader, navigating through a listeria crisis in 2008, returning the company to profitability and sending its stock price up 20 percent in the past year.”

The Harrison McCain Family is still doing all right, though. It finished 23rd on the list at $3.79-billion.

“Though a management team of hired guns manages day-to-day operations, Harrison’s son Mark is active as deputy chairman of the board,” writes the magazine. “His daughter Ann is a director of the McCain Foundation and chairs a separate charitable organization named for her father.”

The Thompson family of Toronto finished first on the list again this year at $41.14-billion.