17 Brilliant Inventions Canada Gave The World

Thanks to Brainjet for this collection: http://www.brainjet.com

We Canucks have a lot to be proud of. Besides hockey, of course, we have given the world a lot of helpful things that are still very relevant today. Here are 17 more reasons to love our great country!

1. Poutine
The rest of the world hasn’t really jumped on the poutine train yet, but that’s their problem? The delicious cheese curd and gravy-topped french fries snack can be found all across Canada in most fast food chains. All Canucks should praise Quebec for creating this food masterpiece.
2. Walkie-Talkies
If you played with walkie-talkies as a kid, you have Canadian inventor Donald Hings to thanks. When created in the 1930s, they were originally known as a “Packset.” But, walkie-talkie sounds ballin’.
Tim Hortons
3. Tim Hortons
We have Ontario, Tim Horton, and Jim Charade to thank for those double doubles that keep us going during the day.
The Snowmobile
4. The Snowmobile
Basically any invention that deals with snow should automatically be attributed to Canada. The snowmobile is no exception. It was invented in 1925 by Joseph-Armand Bombardier. How did people get by without it?
The Goalie Mask
5. The Goalie Mask
Like snow inventions, we pretty much own hockey and everything related to it. In 1959, Jacques Plante was the first goaltender to create a practical mask. His was made out of contoured fiberglass and it has evolved into the caged helmet we know today.
Movies come to life thanks to IMAX. The new film format was invented by filmmakers Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroiter and Robert Kerr in 1967.
The Cardiac Pacemaker
7. The Cardiac Pacemaker
After a lifetime of eating poutine, you might need a pacemaker, another Canadian invention. It was invented by John Hopps, “the father of biomedical engineering in Canada.”
The Wonderbra
8. The Wonderbra
The world should give us a big ol’ Canadian thank you for one of the most popular push-up bras.  The Canadian Lady Corset Company in Montreal first trademarked “wonder-bra” in 1939.  The company later changed its name to Wonderbra in 1961.
Paint Roller
9. Paint Roller
The paint roller was for sure invented by Canadian Norman Breakey in 1940. But American inventor Richards Adams added a few small changes and filed the patent first. What a snake!
Peanut Butter
10. Peanut Butter
What would your PB&J sandwich be without the PB, eh? Americans like to lay claim to bringing peanut butter to the masses, but it was Montreal native Marcellus Gilmore Edson who first patented the treat in 1884.
The BlackBerry
11. The BlackBerry
The door to the smartphone world was opened by Canadian Mike Lazaridis when he invented the BlackBerry wireless device. Due to the success of the phone, Lazaridis is ranked as the 17th wealthiest Canadian.
12. Insulin
Insulin is probably one of the most important inventions to come out of Canada (besides hockey of course). The diabetes treatment was invented by Dr. Frederick Banting in 1922.
13. Superman
It’s a bird, it’s Air Canada, no, it’s Superman! The famous superhero was created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster in 1932. So we get half credit, eh?
Trivial Pursuit
14. Trivial Pursuit
A question from the orange category — What famous board game was invented by Canadians and is now enjoyed worldwide? Yes, Trivial Pursuit! It was created by Montreal Sports editor Scott Abbott and Chris Haney in 1979 when they couldn’t find all the tiles for Scrabble.
Instant Replay
15. Instant Replay
Can you imagine what hockey (heck, any sport) would be like without instant replay? Brutal, eh? The first ever instant replay was created using a kinescope during CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
McIntosh Apples
16. McIntosh Apples
Without McIntosh apples would Macintosh computers even exist? Probably not. With that logic, we have farmer John McIntish to thank for both when he grafted a wild apple tree in 1811.
Garbage Bags
17. Garbage Bags
Glad garbage bags has Harry Wasylyk to thank for their success. With help from Larry Hansen, he created a disposable polyethylene stretchy bag that was intended for hospital use, but quickly became a household staple.
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Indentured Servants in Canada

by June Payne Flath

Indentured servitude was a form of slavery of the poor. Masters often refused to free the servant when the servitude had ended.
Indentured servitude was a form of slavery of the poor. Masters often refused to free the servant when the servitude had ended.

It was an opportunity. It was slavery. Some believe indentured servitude provided passage to the New World. It’s been referred to as white slavery as well as simply a business opportunity. Whether it was a form of welfare or a chance to pay off debt depends on the situation and whom you ask.

In the beginning, settlement of British North America was not the goal. Early traders had a lucrative business going with the natives and there was concern that settlers might interfere. In time though Britain came to realize the best way to protect this piece of prime real estate was to populate it. That proved easier said than done. It was costly to cross the Atlantic, and those who could afford passage were not really the class of people needed.

Strong men were needed willing to swing an axe all day, consider oxen their best friends and survive winters on little food. Women who would tolerate such men, not be opposed to swinging an axe and befriending oxen, would also be welcome.

indentured_servantFarmers, blacksmiths, and innkeepers all needed apprentices, people that would learn their skills and carry them on. At the same time England, Ireland and Scotland had swarms of unemployed due to the Industrial Revolution. Their streets, poor houses, orphanages and prisons were overflowing with homeless people. What to do with them was an ongoing debate. Shipping them to the colonies was a solution for both sides of the ocean.

Indentured labour was a form of contract employment usually with a three- to seven-year time frame. A person became an indentured servant by agreeing to work off a debt during a specified term. “Debt slaves” is another phrase to describe the arrangement, especially in the case of prisoners and youth who had no choice and no other opportunity to repay the debt.

Supporting a family was not only difficult in the United Kingdom, it remained a challenge in the New World. Since Ontario did not have “Poor Laws” (legal obligation for municipalities to care for the local poor) couples with a large number of offspring might make arrangements for a child to be indentured.

A farmer unable to provide farms for all his children might arrange to have one or more of them indentured to a large local land owner. The agreement might include land for a young man who worked to the completion of his term, or domestic service for a daughter.

One estimate claims half of the white settlers of North America were indentured servants. Destitute, they agreed to work for the purchaser of the indenture upon arrival in this foreign land. Jim Struthers, chairman of the Canadian Studies Department at Trent University, says that employers in Upper Canada used indentured servitude as a means of maintaining a labour force. It was a legal contract that held people to a particular employment, to a place, at least long enough to pay back the initial cost of the passage. Some contracts were similar to apprenticeships while the terms of others were harsh. Some felt indentured servants were treated worse than slaves. They only needed to keep the worker alive for the term of the contract; if they died shortly after, it was not their loss. Contracts varied from situation to situation with no standard form. Permanent employment, a learned skill, the promise of land, tools, any and all of these might be promised for those who stayed for the duration of their contract.

While women were in great demand in Upper Canada, the only category open to a single woman who wished to travel to Canada was domestic servant. Jane Ralston arrived in Upper Canada in the 1850s at the age of sixteen. As the daughter of parents too poor to care for her in a village that offered no employment opportunities, she had been indentured to a master in St. Thomas. Unhappy with her treatment in his household, she ran away. Fugitive notices for runaway “white slaves” were not uncommon; however, Europeans did not stand out in a crowd, as did African slaves, and it was easy for them to simply disappear. Jane made her way to Niagara Falls and married Samuel Hall, a black fugitive slave from the American south. Together they operated a hotel in the Niagara Falls district and provided carriage transportation for tourists.

“It was a way to provide for children,” says Larry Hall, descendant of Samuel and Jane. He says while they know little of how arrangements were made, they do know that both Jane’s family and her master’s family in St. Thomas had originated from the same village in Scotland.

“It was a widely used device in Great Britain. They had a number of ways for getting rid of surplus.”

Eventually Upper Canada’s population grew and businesses expanded, creating job opportunities, reducing the need for indenture to ensure a work force. People came as indentured servants, they stayed and their stories are woven into the fabric of our history, our legends, our lives.

This is an original story, first published in The Country Connection Magazine, Issue 50, Summer 2005. Copyright June Payne Flath.

The hidden history of the poppy

How a First World War poem about poppies blossomed into an annual Remembrance Day campaign raising $14 million each year to assist veterans.

by Danelle Cloutier – As published in Canada’s History Magazine

Lt.-Col. John McCrae and his dog Bonneau. Library and Archives Canada/MIKAN 3192003
Lt.-Col. John McCrae and his dog Bonneau.
Library and Archives Canada/MIKAN 3192003

Amid the blasting bombs, lifeless bodies, and muddy trenches of the Great War, bright red poppies flourished in Flanders Fields, Belgium. This sight inspired a poem that moved the British Empire. Now, each Remembrance Day, many people wear the blood-red flower (albeit artificial ones) to honour those who died at war. Here’s how the poppy became an enduring symbol.

Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae was serving as medical officer in Belgium when he wrote “In Flanders Fields.” A friend had just died from wounds sustained on the battlefield, and, in May 1915, as he awaited the wounded from nearby Ypres, he drew inspiration from the blood-red poppies that grew in the region. London magazine Punch published McCrae’s work in December 1915 and it quickly became one of the most popular war poems.

Two days before the Armistice, American humanitarian and academic Moina Michael read McCrae’s poem while on duty at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries headquarters in New York. Servicemen would go there to say goodbye to family and friends before heading overseas. Inspired by McCrae’s poem, Michael wrote her own called, “We Shall Keep the Faith,” in which she vows to wear the poppy to remember the war dead: “And now the torch and poppy red, we wear in honor of our dead.”

In 1920, Anna Guérin, a French woman, was inspired by Michael’s idea to make poppies a memorial flower. Soon after, Guérin made red silk poppies and sold them in Britain to raise money for the Earl Haig Fund in support of former soldiers and the families of those who died during the war. The newly formed British Legion sold nine million of the poppies on November 11 of that year, raising more than 106,000 British pounds.

Guérin convinced the Great War Veterans Association of Canada to use the poppy as a symbol of remembrance while fundraising, which it first did on July 5, 1921.

By 1922, poppies distributed in Canada were made by disabled veterans, via the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment.

On Remembrance Day in 1933, the Co-operative Women’s Guild — an organization in Great Britain that encourages and educates women — distributed the first white poppies to challenge the continuing push for war. A year later, the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) started distributing the white poppies and still does today. Although the PPU says the white poppies aren’t meant to insult the war dead, many view them as disrespectful.

From 1980 to 2002, poppy centres were green. The colour reverted to black to better represent the colour of the poppies in Flanders. Over the years poppies have been made from different materials. In the United Kingdom, early poppies were made from silk but now are made from paper, whereas in the United States wearing fake flowers on Remembrance Day never took off. In Canada, our weather makes plastic a better medium.

Today, the Royal Canadian Legion holds its Poppy Campaign from the last Friday in October to Remembrance Day. The money raised from this campaign provides financial assistance to veterans, funding medical equipment, research, home services, long-term facilities, and more. The campaign raises about $14 million annually from donations.