Great Canadian Inventions

Canadian Inventions
Canadian Eh?

Every year around July 1, I start thinking about why I'm proud to be a Canadian. Universal Health Care is a big one. The ability criticize our politicians and their policies without being considered unpatriotic is another. Religious freedom...

I'm not a sports fan but I love the fact that Canadians invented or contributed to the invention of hockey, lacrosse, baseball and basketball. And then there's all the Canadian comedians, singers, actors, authors and other artists that have made it big internationally to be proud of.

However, my favourite area of Canadian pride is our inventiveness.
  • 56k modem was invented by Dr  Brent Townshend in 1996
  • Abdomenizer was invented by Dennis Colonello in 1984
  • Alkaline battery was invented by Lewis Urry in 1954
  • Amplitude modulation was invented by Reginald Fessenden in 1906
  • An early form of peanut butter was first patented by Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884
  • ASDIC was invented by Robert William Boyle in 1916
  • Automatic Lubricating Cup was invented by Elijah McCoy in 1872
  • Beartrap (helicopter device) was invented for the Royal Canadian Navy in the early 1960s
  • Bi-pin connector was invented by Reginald Fessenden in 1893
  • Bixi, a public bicycle sharing system launched in Montreal in 2009
  • Brunton compass was patented by David W  Brunton in 1894
  • Butter Tarts
  • CADPAT was the first "digital" camouflage system, which was then used for the US MARPAT (1996)
  • Caesar (cocktail), introduced in Calgary in 1969
  • Canada Dry Ginger Ale was invented by John J  McLaughlin in 1907
  • Canadarm was developed by staff of the SPAR Aerospace (1981)
  • Canadian pipe mine, a land mine used in Britain in World War II
  • Canola was developed from natural rapeseed by NRC personnel in the (1970s)
  • Cardiac pacemaker was invented by John Hopps
  • Caulking gun was invented by Theodore Witte in 1894
  • Cesium Beam atomic clock was developed by National Research Council personnel in the 1960s
  • Compound steam engine for marine use was invented by Benjamin Franklin Tibbetts in 1842
  • Computerized Braille was invented by Roland Galarneau in 1972
  • Crash position indicator was invented by personnel of the National Research Council in the 1950s
  • Development of the BlackBerry was led by Mike Lazaridis
  • DigiSync a bar-code reader used in motion picture production was invented by Mike Lazaridis (it won Emmy and Academy Awards in 1999)
  • Easy-Off Oven Cleaner was invented by Herbert McCool in Regina in 1932
  • Egg carton was invented by Joseph Coyle of Smithers, British Columbia in 1911
  • Electric car heater was invented by Thomas Ahearn in 1890
  • Electric Oven was invented by Thomas Ahearn in 1882
  • Electric wheelchair was invented by George Klein in 1952
  • Electrically-controlled variable pitch propeller was invented by Wallace Rupert Turnbull and tested at CFB Borden (1927)
  • Fathometer an early form of sonar invented by Reginald A Fessenden in 1919
  • First commercial jetliner to fly in North America was designed by James C  Floyd, the term jetliner being derived from his Avro Jetliner (1949)
  • First practical electron microscope was built by James Hillier and Arthur Prebus in 1939
  • First wheelchair accessible bus was invented by Walter Harris Callow, 1947
  • First widely used military gas mask was introduced by Cluny MacPherson in 1915
  • Five pin bowling was invented by Thomas F  Ryan in Toronto in 1909
  • G-suit was invented by Wilbur R  Franks in 1941
  • Garbage bag was invented by Harry Wasylyk, 1950
  • Ginger beef was invented by George Wong in Calgary, Alberta in the 1970s
  • Goalie mask was invented by Jacques Plante in 1959
  • Hot wire barretter was invented by Reginald A Fessenden in 1902
  • Hydrofoil boat was invented by Alexander Graham Bell and Casey Baldwin(1908)
  • IMax Movie System was co-invented by Grahame Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, and Robert Kerr in 1968
  • Instant mashed potatoes were invented by Edward Asselbergs in 1962
  • Instant Replay was invented for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada in 1955
  • JACO, a robotic arm for wheelchair invented by Charles Deguire and Louis-Joseph Caron L'√Čcuyer from Kinova
  • Jolly Jumper was invented by Olivia Poole in 1959
  • Key frame animation was co-invented by Nestor Burtnyk and Marcelli Wein at the NRC in the 1970s
  • Lacrosse was codified by William George Beers around 1860
  • Marquis wheat was invented by Charles E Saunders and tested at the Agassiz experimental farm in British Columbia  (~1900)
  • McIntosh Red apple was developed by John McIntosh  (1811)
  • Medicinal insulin was invented by Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip (1922)
  • Modern plunged-style Wonderbra was invented by Louise Poirier in 1964
  • Multi-Dynamic Image Technique was invented by Christopher Chapman in 1967
  • Nanaimo Bar
  • Overhead power connection for electric streetcars was invented by John Joseph Wright (1883)
  • Pablum was invented by Frederick Tisdall, Theodore Drake, and Allan Brown in 1930
  • Pager was invented by Alfred J  Gross in 1949
  • Paint roller was invented by Norman James Breakey
  • Parclo (partial cloverleaf) interchange was developed by planners at the Ontario Department of Highways (20th century)
  • Plexiglas was made practical by William Chalmers' invention for creating methyl methacrylate while a graduate student at McGill University in 1931
  • Poutine
  • Power Knee, a robotic leg device invented by Victhom
  • Process for distilling Kerosene was invented by Abraham Gesner and made the fuel popular
  • Process for making pulped wood paper was invented by Charles Fenerty
  • Process to extract Bromine was invented by Herbert Henry Dow in 1890
  • Prosthetic hand was invented by Helmut Lucas in 1971
  • Quasiturbine was invented in 1996
  • Radio telephony was first demonstrated by Reginald A  Fessenden in 1901  27
  • Robertson screw was invented by PL  Robertson in 1908
  • Rotary snowplow for railroads was invented by a Canadian dentist in 1869, and perfected by Orange Jull of Orangeville, Ontario
  • Rotary vane pump was invented by Charles Barnes and patented in 1874
  • Separable baggage check was invented by John Michael Lyons in 1882
  • Snow blower was invented by Arthur Sicard (1927)
  • Snowmobile was invented by Joseph-Armand Bombardier (1937)
  • SONAR was invented by Reginald Fessenden
  • Standard time was introduced by Sir Sandford Fleming (1878)
  • Steam-powered foghorn was invented by Robert Foulis (1854)
  • Table hockey game was invented by Donald Munro (1930s)
  • Thomas Willson invented a process for producing Calcium Carbide for Acetylene in 1892
  • TM4 M?TIVE, a lightweight magnet electric motor invented by Pierre Couture in 1982
  • trackball was first built for the DATAR computer (although the concept was first mentioned in a similar UK project)
  • Trivial Pursuit was invented by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott in 1979
  • Uno motorcycle was invented by Ben Gulak while still a teenager in 2006
  • Walkie-Talkie was invented by Donald L Hings and Alfred J  Gross for military use  (1942)
  • WEEVAC 6 was invented by Wendy Murphy
  • Yukon Gold potato was invented by Gary R  Johnston in 1966


  1. Happy Canada Day, Ali! This was such a good post. What a creative bunch y'all Canucks are!

    Your post reminded me that as different as the U.S. and its neighbor to the north can be, the two countries are remarkably similar in many ways -- except Canada is full of Canadians, y'all have better beer (or so I've been told), and there are Mounties up there. ;-)

    We should do a lawman exchange program: We'll send you some Texas Rangers in exchange for an equal number of Mounties. Think that would work? ;-)

    HUGS, Crazy Canuck! "I don't always hug Canucks, but when I do, they're nutty ones. Stay crazy, my friend." :-)


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