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Top Canadian Inventions

  • Kerosene

    In 1840 Abraham Gesner of Nova Scotia invented and patented a process for making kerosene. Kerosene is a popular fuel for lanterns and other camping equipment.
  • Telephone

    The telephone has had perhaps the greatest impact on our society of any other invention except the lightbulb (which we Canadians also invented). Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance call from Brantford to Paris, Ontario in 1866 .
  • Universal Standard Time

    Universal Standard Time
    Thanks to Sir Sandford Fleming, the whole world can agree what time it is. In 1879, Fleming recommended the standard to the Royal Canadian Institute. By 1884 it became the world standard.
  • Electric Railway

    Electric Railway
    J.J. Wright of Toronto built the first electric railway with overhead wires. He used anelectric pole connected to the car to avoid the rain and snow which frequently shortcircuited streetcar rails.
  • Electric Cooking

    Electric Cooking
    On August 29,1892, the first meal cooked with electricity was prepared by Thomas Ahearn. Ahearn was sometimes referred to
    as “the Canadian Edison.”
  • Lightbulb

    Yes, the lightbulb! Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Edison did NOT invent the lightbulb. He only improved on its design after buying the patent rights from Torontonians Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans. They were forced to sell their patent to Edison due to a lack of funding for commercialization of the product.
  • Baseball

    Official Site of Major League Baseball Baseball? Isn’t that American? Much controversy surrounds the creation of baseball. The first recorded game of baseball took place in Canada, a year before Abner Doubleday supposedly “invented” the game in Cooperstown, New York. This is a fact that most American baseball fans wish never existed.
  • Marquis Wheat Strain

    Marquis Wheat Strain
    Learn how Marquis wheat strain really does grow faster than other strains. In the early 1900s, Charles E. Saunders developed a new strain of wheat that ripens 10 days earlier than other varieties. This allowed for harvesting before the harsh winters set in. His creation became instrumental in placing Canada on the forefront of global wheat production.
  • Canada Dry Pop

    Canada Dry Pop
    Official Website of Canada DryAfter years of experimenting, pharmacist John McLaughlin perfected his formula for Canada Dry in 1904. The “champagne of ginger ales” is now the most popular ginger ale in the United States, although no longer Canadian-owned.
  • Robertson Screw

    Robertson Screw
    Robinson Screw WebsitePeter L. Robertson was a travelling salesman working for a Philedelphia-based tool company when he patented his screw head. The idea came to him when he injured his hand during a demonstration in Montreal. The square/pyramid design of
    the screw chamber prevented stripping more effectively than other conventional screws. Meanwhile, Today, Robertson is the most widely used in Canada. The Roberston screw is not available in the US.
  • Insulin

    Early discovery of InsulinAt the University of Toronto, Dr. Frederick Banting convinced his department head to provide him with lab space and dogs to extract pancreatic secretions. He then injected the insulin in the dogs to lower their blood sugar. It worked! Today, thousands of diabetics are living healthy lives thanks to
    purified insulin injections.
  • Radar Sonar

    Radar Sonar
    After the Titanic disaster in 1912, Reginald Fessenden invented radio sonar. His invention allows vessels to “see” hazards in darkness and fog. For his efforts, Fessenden was dubbed “the
    father of radio broadcasting.”
  • Snowmobile

    Ski-Doo homepageJoseph Armand Bombardier not only invented the snowmobile in 1922, but he also managed to build a multi-million dollar company with his ideas. Bombardier Inc. now specializes in transportation vehicles including airplanes, monorails, and various watercrafts.
  • Snowblower

    Quebec native Arthur Sicard became so angry at snow blocking his path to market that he built the first snowblower in 1925. He then refined his design and sold it to the nearby town of Oremont in 1927. Today, thousands world-wide are avoiding back pain from shoveling.
  • Electronic Organ

    Electronic Organ
    Video Demo on Electric OrganThe world saw its first electronic organ in 1927 when Morse Robb of Belleville, Ontario invented it.
  • Frozen Dinners

    Frozen Dinners
    Archibald Huntsman, an Ontario marine biologist created the worlds first packaged frozen food, Ice Fillets. His product was introduced in Toronto in 1929 and the business failed in 1931. Clarence Birdseye, a New York taxidermist would later claim to have started the frozen food industry, but his products didnʼt enter the market until 1931.
  • Pablum

    In 1930, doctors at Torontoʼs Hospital for Sick Children invented pablum, a cereal paste rich in nutrients to deliver the minerals and vitamins needed for a babyʼs growth. Pablum is still used today to feed babies.
  • Slider Zipper

    Slider Zipper
    Where would we be without the zipper? Thanks to Gideon Sundback, we donʼt have to worry. The Swedish-Canadian developed the zipper in 1925, revolutionizing the way people put pants on around the world. Not to mention coats and gym bags.
  • Electron Microscope

    Electron Microscope
    The Canadian Center for Electron Microscopy Eli Franklin Burton, Cecil Hall, James Hillier, and Albert Prebus co-invented the electron microscope in 1937. Remarkably, the electron microscope can view objects having the same diameter as an atom.
  • Paint Roller

    Paint Roller
    The paint roller was invented by Norman Breakley from Toronto
    in 1940. May not seem like a big deal, but it beats painting with your hands.
  • Antigravity Suit

    Antigravity Suit
    Wilbur Rounding Franks invented the first G-suit in 1941. His invention prevents jet pilots from blacking out at high altitude and enables them to endure G-forces.
  • Heart Pacemaker

    Heart Pacemaker
    Canadian Heart Rhythm SocietyJack Hopps, an engineer at the National Research Council needed a way to keep a patientʼs heart beating during experiments to see if some surgeries could work better at colder temperatures. Although his 1949 design was too big to fit inside a patient, it worked very well. The1960s eventually brought transistors which allowed for a smaller design. Today, the pacemaker is installed in many patients routinely, never missing a beat.
  • Garbage Bag

    Garbage Bag
    The common green plastic garbage bag was invented by Winnipegʼs Harry Wasylyk and his partner Larry Hansen, of Lindsay, Ontario. The two inventors developed the
    polyethylene bags in 1950, spawning an industry that gave us, among other things, The Man from Glad.
  • The Cobalt Bomb

    The Cobalt Bomb
    CBC Digital Archives for Cobalt BombThe cobalt “bomb” for cancer treatment was developed by scientists from Eldorado Nuclear in London, Ontario, and by Dr. Harold E. Johns of the University of Saskatchewan in 1951.
  • Wonder Bra

    Wonder Bra
    A world without wonder? Not anymore thanks to this Canadian designer. Louis Poirier created the first padded bra with an underwire while working under Montrealbased lingerie company Canadelle. Thanks to Mr. Poirier, women (and men) are enjoying the benefits of the Wonderbra worldwide. A British undergarments executive once commented that “the Wonderbra has become an icon which is just as powerful as
    Leviʼs jeans.
  • Electric Wheelchair

    Electric Wheelchair
    Voice Contolled Electirc Wheelchair VideoCanadian George J. Klein invented the first motorized wheelchair after WWII. He wanted to help paraplegic war veterans. Today, electric wheelchairs are the “legs” of many around the world.
  • Instant Replay

    Instant Replay
    In 1955 CBCTV made use of the first instant replay on Hockey Night in Canada. Instant replays are used in virtually every televised sport today.
  • Curved Hockey Stick

    Curved Hockey Stick
    In 1963, Canadian hockey players Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull bent their stick blades to generate harder shots. (At 118.3 mph itʼs not like Hull needed it) They played for the Chicago Blackhawks at the time.
  • Artificial Hand

    Artificial Hand
    The world's leading prosthetic hand: Touch Bionics In 1964, Dr. Gustave Gingras perfected the workings of the artificial hand activated by the body’s own electrical impulses.
  • Blue Box

    Blue Box
    Blue Box ProgramThe first Blue Box pilot program began in Kitchener, Ontario in 1981. The program kick-started the idea of community-wide recycling. Today, many communities participate in recycling programs.
  • Fox 40 Pealess Whistle

    Fox 40 Pealess Whistle
    Video on Fox 40 WhistleIn 1987, Ron Foxcroft of Hamilton, Ontario invented the Fox 40 pealess whistle. The Fox 40 is used in practically every sporting event around the world because it doesnʼt jam up like its predecessors.
  • Canadarm

    Canadian Space AgencyThe Canadarm, Canadaʼs hand in the sky, is one of the most significant advances in space engineering. Its ability to capture a free-flying payload in a zero gravity environment makes it one of our most impressive technological developments. The slightest contact with an object in space, regardless of size, will send it spinning away. Duringmore than 50 missions and after 7,000 orbits around the earth, the Canadarm has never malfunctioned!
  • Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System

    Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System
    RCMP Violent Crime Linkage SystemIn 1991, the RCMP, with the help of several provincial police forces, created the first national database that shows potential links between known criminals and unsolved crimes. The database currently houses over 200,000 cases. It has been adopted in many other countries including Australia, Belgium, and the United States.
  • Fingerprint Reader

    Fingerprint Reader
    In the late 1990s, Biocrypt Inc. released a new fingerprint reader to replace PINs, keys, and cards. The Missisauga-based company includes clients such as American Express, Intel, and NASA.
  • BlackBerry

    Official BlackBerry SiteThe BlackBerry is a pocket-sized digital organizer invented byMike Lazaridis at Research in Motion. Since its original design, theBlackBerry has evolved with several new featuresincluding wireless technology, enableing you to browse the Internet and send e-mails from anywhere. BlackBerries are now available world-wide and are a popular choice for businesses and students.
  • Java

    James Gosling, a computer engineer from Calgary developed the programming language known as Java. Java is now a prominent language used by web site developers and has been adopted by Microsoft, IBM and Macromedia.