Recently, Canada has been on the rise as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Americas. A considerable part of the intrigue surrounding Canada comes from its intricate background, incredible geographic range and historically diverse metropolitan supercentres. Nowadays, when the typical Torontonian is prompted to share some general knowledge about his country, his response, by second-nature, involves some element of Drake or Bieber, poutine, and funky plastic money. While all of these things are valid to mention, they are seemingly lackluster; especially when compared to the other amazing components of Canadian heritage that one could easily draw from.
There is so much more to Canada than just its rising music scene and quirky items. In fact, world history proves that Canada has a noble track record of putting forth game-changing innovations. There are items we use every day, from zippers to alkaline batteries, that you might not have known originated from the very land you stand on. The next time you find yourself needing to break the ice, show off your Canadian savvy with these interesting historical tidbits:
Despite the superiority of American teams in the NBA, the sport of basketball itself was actually invented by a Canadian from Almonte, Ontario named Dr. James Naismith. The idea came to Dr. Naismith upon having been put in charge of creating a new indoor activity at a Massachusetts YMCA training facility in 1891. His original game involved a peach basket hung 10-ft high and 13 basic rules. Naismith later cut a hole at the bottom of the peach basket, and eventually the game evolved into the worldwide phenomenon it is today.
The Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies became part of the NBA in 1995, but only Drake's beloved Raptors remained Canadian as the Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001.
Photo cred - Videogum
2. Walkie Talkie
Young boys have Donald L. Hings of Burnaby, B.C. to thank for the walkie-talkies that fuel their childhood spy adventures. Initially ignored in 1937 when it was first developed, the walkie-talkie quickly received worldwide attention when World War II broke out in 1939. During that era, it was considered a valuable military communications tool and was eventually mass produced under Hings' direction. Journalists of the war were the first to coin the term "walkie-talkie". 'Til this day, they are being used as a method of quick communication between employees in several industries.
Photo cred - Paris Match
3. Push-Up WonderBra
Who knew Victoria's best kept secret was a Canadian one? Louise Poirier, a Canadian designer, was credited with the invention of the first push-up Wonderbra in the 1960s. Such was a time when women's fashions were starting to become more revealing, with features such as cleavage becoming more desirable for women to flaunt. The push-up bra was revolutionary in more ways than one. Not only did it make basic girdle styles (which were uncomfortable and unflattering) obsolete, it also transformed the marketing game and promoted femininity and confidence in women during a time when they needed it most. Surely, women (and men) everywhere are grateful for this bodacious invention!
Photo cred - The Franklin Institute
IMAX was initially an experiment conducted by a Canadian filmmaker duo - Graeme Ferguson and Roman Kroitor - who aspired to produce a movie viewing experience of epic proportions. They first approached the challenge by converging 9 projectors together to create a multiple-screen system which they presented at the EXPO '67 in Montreal. As their technology developed, a new installation involving a massive camera, projector and rounded screen became the key elements for creating the movie viewing standard we now refer to as IMAX.
Photo cred - Pitcher House
5. Bloody Caesar Cocktail
Canadians love their alcohol. So it makes sense that one of the most popular cocktails in North America originated from Canada itself. The Bloody Caesar was invented in 1969 by Walter Chell, a worker of the Westin Hotel in Calgary, Alberta. Chell was assigned the task of formulating a new cocktail in celebration of the opening of a new Italian restaurant. He spent three months experimenting with ingredients inspired by another drink, the Bloody Mary, and the restaurant's menu. Eventually, he landed upon a mixture of vodka, Clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, served in a salt-rimmed high ball glass with ice and an iconic stalk of celery.
Photo cred - thescore.com
6. Instant Replay
Instant replay is a critical feature in almost all of televised sports. Developed by Canadian George Retzlaff of Saskatchewan in 1955 for CBC's "Hockey Night In Canada", instant replay not only allows sports analysts improve the way they report matches, it also helps referees make fair calls on difficult plays. Retzlaff's was the first instant replay system ever developed, and was later enhanced for use in the United States.
Photo cred - rosieplusjosie
7. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is incredibly important. Neither PB&J or Reese's cups, arguably two of the most amazing foods ever created, would have existed without peanut butter. Invented by Montreal native and chemist Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884, peanut butter was actually inspired by individuals who had difficulty chewing on solid foods. Edson patented his process of milling roasted peanuts into a paste-like consistency, and later inspired John Harvey Kellogg to develop a similar process in which boiled peanuts were used instead.
8. Trivial Pursuit
Trivial Pursuit was once referred to by Time magazine as "the biggest phenomenon in game history." Canadian inventors Chris Haney and Scott Abbott claimed to have developed the game in only a few short hours, after experiencing a bout of inspiration during a game of Scrabble in 1979. Within the same month that Trivial Pursuit was trademarked, the pair had published 1100 copies of the game in Canada. However, due to financing complications they eventually licensed it to a US game manufacturer called Selchow and Righter, whose efforts have established the game into the timeless classic that it is today.