50 Great Things Canada Contributed to the World

Lois Farley

Just a few accomplishments and discoveries made by Canadians in the 150 years since this land became a chartered country.  In no particular order!

  1. The telephone – invented by Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell, in Brantford, Ontario. Patented in the U.S. (so, we’ve gotta share this one I guess)
  2. Insulin – Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip, c. 1922
  3. The light bulb – Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans, 1874 (patent later sold to Thomas Edison)
  4. Canola – Keith Downey and Baldur R. Stafansson (from natural rapeseed), early 1970’s
  5. Basketball – James Naismith, 1891
  6. Hockey –Windsor, Nova Scotia c1800
  7. The goalie mask – Jacques Plante, 1959
  8. Jockstrap hard cup – 1927
  9. Sunglasses for snow blindness – Inuit in Canada’s Arctic
  10. The egg carton – Joseph Leopold Coyle, 1917
  11. Superman – Joe Shuster (artist), 1932
  12. Instant Replay – CBC, Hockey Night in Canada, 1955
  13. IMAX –Roman Kroitor (co-inventor), 1968
  14. AM radio – Reginald Fessenden, 1906
  15. The Walkie-talkie – Donald L. Hings and Alfred J. Gross, 1942
  16. The paint roller – Norman James Breakey, c1940
  17. The snowblower – Arthur Sicard, 1925
  18. The snowmobile – Joseph-Armand (Bombardier), 1937
  19. The Prosthetic Hand – Helmut Lucas, 1971
  20. The Electron Microscope – J. Hillier, A. Prebus and E.F. Burton (University of Toronto), 1938
  21. The electric wheelchair – George Johann Klein, c1949
  22. The steam-powered foghorn – Robert Foulis, 1854
  23. Sonar – Reginald Fessenden
  24. The Cardiac Pacemaker – John Hopps, 1951
  25. Peanut butter – Marcellus Gilmore Edson (patented), 1884
  26. Pablum – Frederick Tisdall, Theodore Drake and Allan Brown, 1930
  27. Easy-Off oven cleaner – Herbert McCool, 1932
  28. Canadarm – SPAR Aerospace (used for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program), 1981
  29. Cirque du Soleil – Guy Laiiberte and Gilles Ste-Croix, 1984
  30. 5-pin bowling – Thomas F. Ryan, 1909
  31. Trivial Pursuit – Chris Haney and Scott Abbott, 1979
  32. The Wonderbra push-up – Louise Poirier, 1964
  33. The Robertson screw – P. L. Robertson, 1909
  34. Poutine – Le Lutin qui rit, Warwick PQ, 1957
  35. Canada Dry Ginger Ale – John J. McLaughlin, 1904
  36. Canadian-only chocolate bars: Coffee Crisp – Rowntree’s, 1938; Crispy Crunch – Cadbury, 1912
  37. The birch bark canoe, the toboggan and snowshoes – Indigenous Peoples
  38. The Alkaline Battery – Lewis Urry, 1954
  39. The caulking gun – Theordore Witte, 1894
  40. The plastic garbage bag – Harry Waslykin, 1950
  41. The Bloody Caesar – invented in Calgary, Alberta, 1969
  42. Plexiglass – William Chalmers (McGill University), 1931
  43. Explosives Vapour Detector – Lorne Elias, 1985
  44. Computerized Braille – Roland Galarneau, 1972
  45. Java programming language – James Gosling, 1991
  46. The Blackberry – Mike Lazaridis, 1984
  47. Standard time zones – Sir Sandford Fleming, 1883
  48. Collerette ladder for fire fighting – Rodrigue Colleret, 1896
  49. Electric oven – Thomas Ahearn, 1882
  50. Yukon Gold potato – Gary R. Johnston, 1966

This is not a scientifically-verified, written in stone list and some of these “claims to fame” are in dispute.  I just went with the generally accepted record of these inventions and contributions, with brief research to fact check.  I could be wrong on some of them (it’s been known to happen!).  So, please take this list with a grain of salt and in the light-hearted manner it was intended.  After all, we Canadians do have a pretty good sense of humour!  Just ask Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Howie Mandel, Russell Peters, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, Eugene Levy….

And on the theme of Canadian comedy, we thought we’d share this video on How to Be a Canadian.

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