In 1891, Ontario-born gym teacher James Naismith nailed a couple of peach baskets to the wall of the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA and had his students try to throw a ball into them. He’d later write the first rule book for a sport he called “basket ball.”
Among the first-ever underwire, or push-up, or cleavage-creating undergarments, it was developed in Canada in the 1930s and was once sold under the brand name “Canadian Lady.”
The cliché is true—there’s a lot of snow in Canada. Of course a power vehicle to get through it was going to be invented in Canada. A mechanical engineer from Quebec named Joseph-Armand Bombardier made the first one in 1937.
Arthur Sciard of Montreal developed the “Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower” in 1925, and two years later made his first sale to the town of Outremont, which used his invention to clear public spaces.
Dry ginger ale, the sweet, bubbly style of the drink by which we know it today, was invented by Canadian chemist John McLaughlin in the early 1900s. He also founded the first ginger ale bottler, Canada Dry, which is still around today.
Alfred J. Gross created the first working pager in 1949, a major breakthrough in wireless communication.
Alfred Gross is among the inventors credited for developing the “handheld transceiver,” a portable, wireless, two-way radio during World War II. (Over.)
The referee’s failsafe was first developed in 1955 for use on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Hockey Night in Canada.
In 1956, Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante fashioned the first-ever face mask for goalies. (He wore it only in practice for three years because his coach wouldn’t allow him to wear it during games…until 1959, when he broke his nose with a puck shot to the face.) Plante both made hockey safer and Jason from Friday the 13th possible.
In 1996, Canadian electrical engineer Dr. Brent Townshend ushered in a then-lightning-fast world of surfing the web, which is what they called it in 1996, with his invention of the 56K dial-up modem.
A team led by Canadian doctor Frederick Banting figured out how to use insulin from animals to treat diabetes in humans, thereby making the disease manageable instead of a death sentence.
Instant mashed potatoes
Dried potato flakes—just add water, milk, and butter and you’ve got a hallmark of suburban cuisine. Canadian Department of Agriculture food chemist Edward Asselbergs patented them in 1966.
It’s provided freedom and mobility to countless people, and it was invented by engineer George Klein of the National Research Council of Canada in 1952. He created it specifically to aid soldiers injured in World War II.
In 1911, a British Columbia hotel owner was angry that a farmer’s eggs often arrived broken. Newspaper editor Joseph Coyle resolved the problem by inventing a method for transporting eggs where each one got their own safe little place.