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We all know an extra-creative Canadian who has the best ideas in the book. They wouldn’t be the first! Here are 18 things you potentially use every day that you didn’t realize were invented by Canadians!!
Winnipeg citizens Harry Wasylyk and Larry Hansen invented the garbage bag in 1950, influenced by having to wrap wet scraps in newspaper before discarding and having to steam-clean garbage cans regularly. Their green polyethylene bags were bought by Union Card and are now known as the Glad brand garbage bags found in most Canadian households today.
Egg cartons were created by newspaper publisher Joseph Coyle of B.C in 1911. After hearing of a grocery delivery full of broken eggs, he quickly got to work with an apparatus containing slots for each egg made out of newspaper. Guess that’s why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket!
The zipper was also thought of by a Canadian. You can thank Gideon Sundback for his 1913 invention every time you zip up a bag, a winter coat, or a pair of pants!
The lines you see painted on road can be traced back to the 1930s, on a stretch of road between Ontario and Quebec. These were invented by John D. Millar, an engineer at the Ontario department of transport.
The pacemaker was a great advancement in the medical field made by John Hopps, a Winnipeg-born electrical engineer in 1949. His invention influenced by the observations made by two Toronto-based cardiac surgeons, illustrating that an electrical pulse could restart the heart. This would later revolutionize open-heart surgeries as well as improving the quality of life for those living with heart issues.
Speaking of significant medical advancements, the discovery of insulin was made by a doctor from Toronto by the name of Frederick Banting in 1921. He then further developed insulin at the University of Toronto alongside a few of his colleagues. This discovery greatly improved the quality of life for people living with Diabetes in Canada as well as worldwide.
Contrary to popular belief, the first form of peanut butter was invented in Canada, not the U.S.! Pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson whipped up a concoction in 1884 and much preferred its consistency to that of butter, lard or ointment. Now you can feel extra patriotic when enjoying your next PB&J!
Doctors, firefighters and nuclear engineers have one thing in common- the use of pagers to effectively execute their daily tasks in saving, caring for an protecting us by some means! The pager was invented by Torontonian Alfred J. Gross in 1949. In some ways, he continues to save lives with his creation 7 decades later!
Have you ever painted the walls in your bedroom and thought “man, this would really suck without a paint roller!” You wouldn’t be the first; we’re sure Norman Breakey thought the same thing before inventing the paint roller in Toronto around 1940. Unfortunately, he died before patenting it and did not receive much money for his invention.
The invention of the electric lightbulb can also be traced back to the efforts of Henry Woodward, who then sold his patent to Thomas Edison. With that, you could say that Canadians are pretty bright!
Plexiglass sales skyrocketed in early 2020 after the first Coronavirus cases popped up worldwide. Suddenly, a desperate and great need for face shields, sheet barriers and other forms of dividers arose in the name of public safety. You can now spot William Chalmer’s invention in some form in just about every public setting in 2021, 90 years after originally inventing it in a laboratory at McGill University.
Pablum is known to many new parents as a saving grace when their infant is getting ready for the transition to solid foods. The cereal was developed at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 1930, originally to curb infant malnutrition and rickets and to boost mineral and vitamin intake.
The electric wheelchair was also invented by a Canadian! This amazing piece of technology was produced by one of the country’s most accomplished inventors- George Klein. This piece of equipment has made the lives of those requiring wheelchairs much easier since 1953.
We can also thank a Canadian for the creation of wireless radio transmission and the first radio broadcast. Reginald Aubrey Fessenden was the first to broadcast on the AM radio brand in 1900. His technology was imperative during both world wars in the 20th century and is now enjoyed casually by most people on their drive to and from work daily.
Speaking of the drive to work, did you know that the odometer was invented in Canada? Nova Scotia inventor Samuel McKeen created a device to measure distance traveled by the rotation of carriage wheels. Many others were working on this concept at the time, but McKeen beat them to the punch!
Another communications device that was crucial to the 29ty century 3ar efforts was the walkie-talkie, invented by Canadian Donald Hings. This device, originally called the “pack set”, was crucial to the Canadian military at the time and is now known in most Canadian households as a fun toy for kids when playing various games that require hiding, seeking and capturing of flags.
Communications seems to be something of a strong suit for Canada, as the telephone also has original ties to the Great White North. Alexander Graham Bell, while not Canadian-born, spent much time in Ontario during his professional years. This invention has evolved leaps and bounds with the development of technologies since its creation in 1876. These days, it’s hard to find someone in Canada who does not own a cellphone (or even has it in their hand presently!)
Finally, have you ever felt jet-lagged? Or have you ever tried to call a family member in another province and had to jump through hoops to find an appropriate time to call because of a time-difference? It may seem annoying, but standard time zones have actually made things easier! Canadian engineer Sir Sanford Fleming saw the need in the early 20th century after missing a train, having only the sun to rely on as a way of telling time and when he might make it. We no longer have to rely on the sun, the moon, or any silly guesses to determine the time now, and it only makes sense to separate it by latitudinal zone!
There are tons of things in our everyday lives that we can proudly call a Canuck creation! Let us know in the comments what your favourite invention produced by a Canadian is!
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