The Samuel family is one of the most financially successful families in Canada. It is listed as one of the top 100 richest families in the country with an estimated net worth of $1.21 billion. This is a family that has had a long and close association with the Royal Ontario Museum. Members of this wealthy family owe their fame and fortune to one Sigmund Samuel, who started collecting stamps at the age of 10.
When he turned 11 years old, he started working for his father in their family business that supplied local factories with metal. As Canada industrialized in the early 1900s, their business grew rapidly and prospered. Samuel acquired collections in numerous fields, and he also involved himself in the new Royal Ontario Museum. He contributed some of the finest pieces in the ancient Greek collection and donated a huge collection of Canadian paintings, artifacts, maps and prints.
Before his death in 1962, Sigmund Samuel had established a family tradition of philanthropy. His grandson Earnest Samuel continued to support the museum. Earnest and his wife, Elizabeth Samuel, gave generously to the Gallery Development Campaign of the 80s and 90s. In 2003, Elizabeth Samuel donated $5 million towards Renaissance ROM.