10 Things You Didn’t Know About David Thomson & Family

David Thomson and family are names that perhaps you’ve caught lightly in the annals of great wealth and power. Who exactly are they? As the Canadian heirs to the Thomson Corporation, Thomson Reuters and other vast holdings amounting to over $39 billion, they are indeed remarkably influential. The family’s legacy reigns top of the list in Canada’s wealthiest families and ranks high amidst global billionaires. Let’s uncover some details about the intriguing life of David Thomson and family that you probably didn’t know.


1. The Thomson Family Controls the Thompson Corporation and Thomson Reuters

The Thomson family’s primary source of wealth is the Thomson Corporation, a globally recognized company that they’ve controlled for generations. In 2008, the Thomson Corporation merged with Reuters to form Thomson Reuters, a multinational media conglomerate that specializes in information services for professionals in fields like legal, tax, accounting, healthcare, science, and media.

The corporation is today known for the cutting-edge production and distribution of intellectual capital. The critical decision-making of the Thomson family has continued to shape the international media landscape as they own a majority stake in this titan of professional information services.


2. David Thomson Inherits the Family Fortune from His Father, Roy Thomson.

David Thomson, the 3rd Lord Thomson of Fleet, inherited the family fortune after the passing of his father, Kenneth Thomson, the 2nd Lord Thomson of Fleet, in 2006. The Thomson’s baronial title is part of the British rewarding Peerage system, which was granted to David’s grandfather, Roy Thomson, in 1964 by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the Commonwealth.

David Thomson is recognized as the richest man in Canada and often sits within the top 30 wealthiest people globally. His passions extend beyond the family business to include art collecting and the chairmanship of the Thomson family’s investment arm, Woodbridge.


3. The Thomson Family are Passionate Art Collectors

David’s father Kenneth was an avid art collector, a passion that he passed down the family lineage. David’s love for fine art has been nurtured since childhood, and he has utilized his wealth to acquire assortments of high-valued artistic pieces. His impressive collection boasts artists like Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt.

Moreover, in 2002, the Thomson family made headlines by purchasing the world’s costly book at that time, “The Birds of America” by John James Audubon, for $8.8 million. Today, part of the Thomson’s art collection contributes to increasing the richness of the Art Gallery of Ontario.


4. David Thomson is Private about Family Life

Despite being part of one of the most influential families globally, David Thomson tends to maintain a tight-lipped presence over his personal life. He keeps information about his immediate family—his two ex-wives and four daughters—away from the public eye. He’s rarely seen in high-profile social gatherings or media interviews, preferring to keep his life low-profile.

This reserved personality extends to his wealth management, where he refrains from flamboyant demonstrations of wealth. Indeed, he has regularly expressed discomfort over the public fixation on his riches, choosing to focus on his work and personal interests instead.


5. They Support Various Philanthropic Causes

The Thomson family have translated their fortune into numerous philanthropic activities over the years. They have demonstrated their philanthropy through the family’s private charitable arm, the Thomson Family Foundation, which focuses on areas like social services, education, and healthcare. They have granted millions of dollars in donations to charities and non-profit organizations across Canada and globally.

Furthermore, the family is one of the major benefactors to the Art Gallery of Ontario, providing a significant boost to the Canadian art scene through substantial donations of art from their private collection.


6. David Thomson has German Roots

David’s grandfather, Roy Thomson, was intrigued by the world outside his native Canada and thought many promising business opportunities lay across the Atlantic. Germany was one of his preferred ventures, where he purchased several newspapers and, at one point, had a broadcasting franchise.

As a result of these ties, David Thomson was born in Toronto, Canada, but was raised both in Canada and Germany. His upbringing was instrumental in shaping his global outlook and influence, contributing to his understanding of business operation in diverse markets.


7. David Thomson pursued a Degree in History

Though born into a media empire, David Thomson’s academic focus was not on business or finance but history. His love for historical knowledge saw him pursue a degree in History from the prestigious Selwyn College, Cambridge. This unusual choice of study reflects David’s broad range of interests and the magnitude of his intellectual curiosity.

Still, his historical knowledge has served a valuable role in guiding his oversight in the Thomson family businesses, providing depth and global perspective in his decision-making processes.


8. The Family’s Legacy Dates Back to 1934

The Thomson family’s legacy traces back to 1934 when Roy Thomson bought The Timmins Daily Press in Ontario. His venture began from a single radio station, which grew to own 19 newspapers by 1953, and later became an international media conglomerate.

Surprisingly, Roy Thomson’s initial steps were unpromising as he started his career as a salesman, tried his hand at opening a radio sales shop, and toiled as a travel and fur trade agent. His perseverance and vision eventually led to his status as a media mogul and his elevation to British nobility.


9. David Thomson Portrays Deep Interest in Technology

David Thomson’s leadership in the family businesses has been marked by a pronounced interest in technology and digital platforms. He sees significant potential for technological convergence in the media industry and has guided the Thomson corporations to adapt and capitalize on the changing media landscape.

His management has caused Thomson Reuters to see immense growth in digital engagement and outreach, thus ensuring the longevity of the family’s media empire in the digital age.


10. David Thomson maintains Lookout in Real Estate

In addition to the media conglomerate, the Thomson family also holds considerable wealth in real estate. Their investments are spread over the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. They have a significant number of shares in real estate developer Brookfield Asset Management as well.

David Thomson has been continually observing the real estate landscape, securing investment opportunities that ensure capital growth. He has actively taken part in several high-profile real estate transactions, underscoring his and his family’s immense commercial scope beyond the media industry.

Discover more about David Thomson and family:

Thomson Reuters Official Site
David Thomson on Forbes

David Thomson on Bloomberg
Art Gallery of Ontario