The Greatest Canadian Invention

Watch the video as many times as you consider necessary. You can work on the in-class listening exercises as you watch this.


Read the text below and find out which other Canadian inventions made it to the top ten.

NOTE: Since the official website for this show has been taken off the Internet, I’ve borrowed this post from a blog called The Hot Report. (View the original site here)

The HOT Report – by Craig Hill

Top 10 Canadian Inventions of All Time

Oh Canada! Necessity is the mother of invention and, apparently, Canadians are a needy yet resourceful bunch.

A recent nation-wide vote for the country’s best inventions has uncovered some surprisingly innovative Canucks:

# 1 Insulin

Insulin, a life-saving treatment for Diabetes, was the brainchild of Frederick Banting.

Apparently, the idea of using Insulin to control the deadly disease came to Banting in a dream. Banting, along with colleagues, isolated the compound in 1921. At the time, diabetes was as deadly and disasterous as cancer. Banting was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923.

# 2 Telephone

While the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was born in Scotland, he immigrated to Canada as a young man and later set about to create a means to communicate across the long distances of his new home.

He had been working in Boston but Bell’s severe headaches brought him back to his family home in Ontario for some much needed relaxation. Alexander made his way to his ‘dreaming place’, a nearby bluff, and brainstormed the idea for a ‘harmonic telegraph’.

# 3 Light Bulb

Thought it was Edison’s bright idea? Nope. Two Canadians, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans, patented the light bulb in 1875. Unfortunately, the duo didn’t have the funds to produce and sell the light bulbs, so they sold their idea to good ole Thomas Edison.
Not such a brilliant idea, fellas.

# 4 Five-Pin Bowling

Five-pin bowling is a bowling variant which is only played in Canada and was created by Thomas Ryan of Toronto in 1909. It was devised to offer bowlers the chance to play a game during a half-hour lunch break. This goal was achieved using smaller balls that can be cradled in the hand, travel faster than ten-pin balls and can be thrown in rapid succession.

# 5 Wonderbra

Louise Poirier of Canadelle Co. invented the push-up, bust enhancing Wonderbra in 1964. When the Wonderbra hit American shelves in 1994, it instantly became an American icon.

The song ‘Amerika’ by Rammstein features the celebrated undergarment:

We’re all living in Amerika
Amerika ist wunderbar
We’re all living in Amerika
Coca Cola, Wonderbra!

# 6 the Pacemaker

While researching hypothermia John Hopps discovered that you could restart a cooled heart with mechanical or electrical stimulation. He devised the first cardiac pacemaker in 1950 although it was much too large to be used internally.

# 7 Robertson Screw

This special square headed screw and driver have a tighter fit than a slot and rarely slip. Craftsmen soon found the Robertson screw to be superior to other screws since it could be driven with one hand, was self-centering and had a tight fit. But, while it is the most popular screw in its native Canada, it is almost unheard of outside of the Great White North because inventor Peter Robertson refused to license his product. Robertson had earlier been cheated by a British company he had given a license to and had subsequently decided to never be put in that position again. Unfortunately, the Ford Motor Company did not want to use the Robertson screws without a licensing agreement even though the screws saved Ford two hours in assembly time for every vehicle.

# 8 The Zipper

Oh, where would we be without the zipper? Invented by Gideon Sundback in 1913, the zipper replaced cumbersome and unreliable fasteners such as hooks, bone pins and needles. And, Zippers are so much better at keeping out the rain, cold and snow than buttons.

# 9 Electric Wheelchair

After World War Two, the influx of veterans that came home as para- or quadriplegics inspired George Klein to invent a motorized wheelchair. George Klein’s widow and National Research Council’s D. Bourgeois-Doyle proudly unveil the original motorized wheelchair

#10 Poutine

Ah, the Quebecers love their poutine. How can you not love a glorious mixture of french fries, melted cheese and cheese curds all smothered in hot gravy! Poutine is now taking America, Europe and Asia by storm = World domination by Poutine!

Other Great Canadian Innovations include:

CANADARM (outer-space giant reaching arm)
Java Programming Language
Baby Pablum
Alkaline Battery
UV Degradable Plastics
Hockey Goalie Mask
Standard Time
Walkie Talkies
Electron Microscope
CPR Mannequin
Road Lines
Electric Stove
Trivial Pursuit
Television Camera
Electric Prosthetic Hand
Electric Streetcar

See, we’re not just a bunch of beer-drinking, back bacon-eating snow-lovers.

OK, we’re not ONLY a bunch of beer-drinking, back bacon-eating snow-lovers.

Canadian inventors have improved lives the world over.
What will be next big discovery to come out of the True, North, Strong, and Free?


Winter Carnival In Québec

Watch the video as many times as necessary to answer the questions below.

  • When was Québec City founded?
  • What is its population?
  • What are the regular activities people can enjoy there during the winter carnival?
  • When did the city start celebrating carnival?
  • What other activities take place during the night time?