As Canadian as Apple Pie?
5 Canadian Inventions that Everyone Thinks Came from the US
Here in Canada it is easy to feel marginalized – not to say downright ignored – by our noisy neighbors to the south. They already lay claim to any number of our famous celebrities: Seth Rogan, Pamela Anderson, Leslie Neilsen, Michael J. Fox, Ryan Reynolds, William Shatner… need we go on? But there are also a number of Canadian inventions which pretty much everyone believes came out of the States. We are here to set the record straight, so read on to discover which ‘American as Apple Pie’ products should really have a maple leaf stamped on them!
Peanut butter: what could be more American than PB&J sandwich? Well, plenty of things as it turns out. In fact this staple of kids’ lunch pails for generations was invented by a Mr Marcellus Gilmore Edson from Quebec all the way back in 1884. As dentistry was not quite as advanced in those days, he saw peanut butter as a wholesome foodstuff for those folks who were missing a few molars.
Hawaiian Pizza: coming at you from Chatham, Ontario, and definitely not Hawaiian in any way whatsoever. Canadian chef Sam Panopoulos (who recently passed away, sadly) was inspired by the way that Chinese cooks mixed sweet and sour together, and so tried a few experiments of his own. While not all were a success, the topping of pineapple and ham on top of a traditional tomato and cheese pizza proved a smash hit all over the world.
Superman: although this indestructible alien may have fought for ‘truth, justice and the American way’, there is a little Canadian in his origins too. The character of Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in Cleveland, Ohio. However, Shuster spent the first ten years of his life in Canada, having been born in Toronto, which is more than enough for us to claim Superman as half-Canadian.
Lightbulb: wait a minute, you’re thinking, didn’t Thomas Edison (famously) invent the lightbulb? Well, he came up with the final version but he certainly can’t claim all the credit. Canadian duo Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans filed a patent for an electric lamp back in 1874, only to sell the patent to the cannier Edison five years later when they couldn’t make a profit from their invention. If there was one thing Mr Edison was a genius at creating it was money, but he stood on the shoulders of others when it came to inventing the lightbulb.
Basketball: when we think of basketball we think of the NBA, as it’s fair to say that NBL Canada has yet to capture the world’s attention. However, it was a Canadian professor who invented the game all the way back in 1891. Searching for a way to keep athletes fit during winter months, and one which did not involve the physical battering of football, Dr James Naismith came up with the idea to nail a couple of peach baskets to the balcony of the gym. Using a soccer-style ball, the game of basketball had begun, (although it did take a while for them to figure that taking the bottom out of the baskets would save a whole lot of time!) The first public basketball game took place the next year, and a multi-billion dollar industry was born.
The above examples are just a few of the inventions which have come out of Canada over the years. You can add Standard Time, the snowmobile, instant mashed potatoes, the electric wheelchair, snow-blower, insulin, garbage bags, paint rollers, and the Bloody Mary drink to name but a few more Canadian inventions. All we need to do now is to invent something which allows Canadians to get credit for their inventions from the rest of the world!
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Photo: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0.