Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day, eh?

I think that it's some bizarre mathematical law (or in Jane Austenese, a truth universally acknowledged) that an expat will become more patriotic the farther he or she is away from the motherland (or in the case of our German readers, das vaterland). But here it is, Canada Day - my country's 139th birthday as it were - and I am giving the occasion far more thought than if I were at home. And that's the point, isn't it? I'm not at home because I chose to leave for, if not greener pastures, pastures of a different hue. Oh well, that's a horse of a different colour.

We Canadians are a self-deprecating bunch. We apologize when people step on our feet. We say pardon instead of what. So on this day when the only thing that is clearly Canadian in my apartment is me, I find myself reflecting on those things Canadian; a reminder more so for myself that Canada (to quote one of our major breweries), rocks. So I humbly offer a much abbreviated list of Canadian inventions/designs - whatever - from A to Z (and that's a zed).

  1. aircraft de-icer (T.R. Griffith & John L. Orr, 1941)
  2. antigravity suit (Wilbur R. Franks, 1940)
  3. basketball (James Naismith, 1892)
  4. Canadarm (SPAR & the National Aeronautical Establishment, 1981) (seemed like a really big deal at the time. Like we were space pioneers or something ~ CinR)
  5. CanLit (Canadian literature must be acknowledged, notably my personal gods Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Rohinton Mistry ~ CinR)
  6. chocolate nut bar, 1st nickle chocolate bar (Arthur Ganong, 1910)
  7. CPR Dummy (Dianne Croteau, Richard Brault & Jonathan Vinden)
  8. dental mirror (my teeth are grateful ~ CinR)
  9. electric car heater (Thomas Ahearn, 1890)
  10. electric cooking range (Thomas Ahearn, 1882)
  11. electronic flight simulator (C.A.E. Electronics Ltd., 1947)
  12. electric hand prosthesis for children (Helmut Lukas, 1971)
  13. electrical car - North America's first!
  14. electric light bulb (Henry Woodward invented the electric light bulb in 1874 and sold the patent to Thomas Edison)
  15. Electric wheelchair (George J. Klein)
  16. five-pin bowling (Thomas E. Ryan, 1909) (I can't bowl ~ CinR)
  17. foghorn (Robert Foulis, 1854)
  18. frozen fish (Dr. Archibald G. Huntsman, 1926) (with apologies to Ken & Gerard, our goldfish~ CinR)
  19. Gestalt Photo Mapper (G. Hobrough, 1975)
  20. ginger ale, Canada Dry (John J. McLaughlin, 1904)
  21. goalie mask (Jacques Plante, 1959)
  22. hydrofol boat (Alexander Graham Bell and Casey Baldwin, 1908)
  23. IMAX (Grahame Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr, 1968)
  24. insulation
  25. insulin, as diabetes treatment (Drs. Frederick Banting, Charles Best and Collip, 1921)
  26. Java (James Gosling) (that little cup of coffee on your computer screen, not the big cup of coffee in your hand ~ CinR)
  27. Jolly Jumper (Olivia Pool) (Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! ~CinR)
  28. kerosene (Abraham Gesner, 1840)
  29. lacrosse (although played since the 1600's, William George Beers set out standard rules 1860)
  30. lawn sprinkler (Real McCoy)
  31. music synthesizer (Hugh Le Caine, 1945)
  32. Muskol (the best insect repellent in the world ~ CinR)
  33. newsprint (Charles Fenerty, 1838)
  34. odomoter (Samuel McKean, 1854)
  35. Pablum (Drs. Alan Brown, Fred Tisdall, and Theo Drake, 1930's)
  36. the Pacemaker (Wilfred Bigelow)
  37. paint roller (Norman Breakey, 1940) (this is important, I move a lot ~ CinR)
  38. panoramic camera (John Connon, 1887)
  39. Pictionary (Rob Angel, 1986)
  40. plexiglass (William Chalmers, 1931)
  41. polypump liquid dispenser - pumpable liquid hand soap (Harold Humphrey, 1971)
  42. polythene green garbage bag (Harry Wasyluk & Larry Hanson, 1950) (not sure if that's a good thing ~ CinR)
  43. portable film developing system (Arthur Williams McCurdy, 1890, but foolishly sold the patent to George Eastman in 1903)
  44. radar profile recorder (NRC, 1947)
  45. railway car brake (George B. Dorey, 1913)
  46. Retractable beer carton handle, or Tuck-away-handle Beer Carton (Steve Pasjac, 1957) (a thing of beauty & function ~ CinR)
  47. Robertson screw (Peter L. Robertson, 1908) (doesn't get much more Canadian than the Robertson screwdriver ~ CinR)
  48. rollerskate
  49. screw propeller (John Patch, 1833) (that was for Chrisso & everyone at the Propeller Brewing Company ~ CinR)
  50. snowblower (Arthur Sicard, 1927)
  51. Snowmobile (Joseph-Armand Bombardier, 1937)
  52. snowplow, rotary (invented by J.W. Elliot, 1869, first built by Leslie Brothers, 1883)
  53. standard time (Sir Sanford Fleming, 1879)
  54. Stanley Cup* (Canadian Governor-General Lord Stanley of Preston, 1893)
  55. Stol aircraft (de Havilland Canada, 1948)
  56. submarine telegraph cable
  57. Superman (Joe Shuster and Jerome Siegel, 1938)
  58. table hockey (Donald Munro, 1930's)
  59. telephone (Alexander Graham Bell, 1874)
  60. television (Reginald A. Fessenden, 1927)
  61. television camera (F.C.P. Henroteau, 1934)
  62. Trivial Pursuit (Chris Haney, John Haney and Scott Abbott, 1982) (or how I spent my undergraduate years ~ CinR)
  63. UV-degradable plastic (Dr James Guillet, 1971)
  64. variable Pitch Propeller (Wallace Rupert Turnbull, 1918)
  65. Walkie-Talkie (Donald L. Hings, 1942)
  66. washing machine
  67. wireless radio (Reginald A. Fessenden, 1900)
  68. wirephoto (Sir William Stephenson, 1921)
  69. Yahtzeh (I still play it ~ CinR)
  70. ... and the zipper (Gideon Dundback, 1913)

*Honourary mention goes to: hockey (invented by British soldiers in Nova Scotia)

There we go - a much abbreviated and undoubtedly flawed list. I expect to be admonished (by my brother) for any egregious omissions and reminded (by Mr. N) that most of the inventors were of Scottish heritage or birth. Hopefully I will have learned my lesson and confine my Canadian reveries next year to butter tarts, the letter "U" (as in neighbour), maple syrup, Bill Shatner, Mcintosh apples, Nanaimo bars, dill pickle chips, Pamela Anderson, Aero bars (although we should be boycotting evil Nestlés), Canada Geese, hosers, Grapenut ice cream (that was for my Mom), and beavers (by the way, National Beaver Day is on the last Friday of February).

As soon as the clock permits, I'll open a beer and toast The Great White North - although most of my copatriots will still be asleep or hauling their lazy asses out of bed. Perhaps I'll even listen to some Tragically Hip while
I'm at it. I may even hum a few bars of our national anthem (no one really knows the words because they've been changed a gazillion times in the last 25 years. Go to any hockey game and everyone is singing a different version. I myself am partial to Roget Doucet's rendition, which he would sing before the crowds at the Canadiens' home games at the Montreal Forum).

Happy Canada Day, eh?


Anonymous Myrtus said...

Happy Birthday Canada! (:
I've never been there, but I'm hoping one of these days.

2:24 a.m.  
Blogger Bill Day said...

Whenever I am fed up with the U.S. (I won't say how often), I say I am going to Canada. Happy Canada Day!

6:31 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Thanks all!

8:35 a.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

Er..yes..well, part of a cheer from me - that's the Canadian part, which must exist I suppose considering my Mum was born on a train to Winnipeg.
For some reason she always liked to claim she was Scottish.
How come Canadians invented so much? Is it the result of long winter nights trapped in their log cabins by blizzards, wild bears and over-friendly mounties??? :)

8:41 p.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

BTW, you're wrong about No2 (the anti-gravity suit) - that was Nicolai Poliakoff , 1900-1974! :)

9:41 p.m.  
Anonymous betty said...

from your MOTHER
you forgot that the gas mask was invented here in Canada.

10:37 p.m.  
Anonymous Cath said...

For your amusement, a brief Canada Day quiz from your home and native land.

1. Which Canadian celebrity was born on July 1.
a. Nelly Furtado
b. Donald Sutherland
c. Pamela Anderson
d. John Candy

2. What is Ogopogo?
a. A children's game.
b. An Inuit celebration.
c. A giant serpent spotted in a B.C. lake.
d. A valley in Alberta.

3. Who cooed "I love Turtles" in a campy 70s TV ad?
a. Charity Brown
b. Lee Aaron
c. Juliette
d. Gail Dahms

4. Who did the Toronto Blue Jays defeat in 1992 for their first World Series win?
a. The New York Yankees.
b. The Atlanta Braves.
c. The Philadelphia Phillies
d. The Milwaukee Brewers.

5.What was the name of the fictional town featured in Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town?
a. Haileyburg
b. Longbourn
c. Mariposa
d. Lebarge

(answers below)

1.b 2.c 3.d 4.b 5.c

10:38 p.m.  
Anonymous kpmmmn again said...

Kirkintilloch's (Scotland) first aerated water manufacturer was John MacIntyre. He began his business in 1888 with 'Lemonade', 'Ginger Ale', 'Ginger Beer'...

You're a right one Cat. I think you're taking all of Scotland's inventions and trying to make them Canadian.

Remeber Alex. G Bell was Scottish too.

11:03 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Cath, I believe my brother had a crush on 3D - she went to Grand River.

11:40 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Byron - Coco the Clown????

11:48 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

kpmmmn: Kirkintilloch began his business in 1888 but when did he start bottling his ginger ale?

11:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Cath said...

Indeed, you are correct. There was a big "was-it-Charity-Brown-or-Gail-Dahms" debate in the newsroom the other day. And since I knew someone (you) who knew someone (your brother), who knew one or possibly both of the women, they deferred to my greater knowledge. We also recently did a lengthy feature on the chick from The Trouble With Tracy. Turns out she was from Waterloo.
Yes, these are the sorts of issues I envisioned myself tackling when I chose journalism.

11:57 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Omigod, The Trouble With Tracy???? That was a hip show. I loved her pant suits!!!

12:12 a.m.  
Anonymous Cath said...

She's living in St. Catharines now, directing plays at a local theatre. I'll send you a copy of the story we ran.

1:12 a.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

Oh dear. I scored 0 in the Canada quiz.

7:54 a.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

Of course Coco the Clown - could you look at his suit without smiling?

7:55 a.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

1) If we invented the foghorn, who invented the leghorn?

2) Hockey was invented in Montreal. The first game was played between a squad from McGill (an alma mater of mine) and Kingston's Royal Military College.

3) Belated Happy Canada Day.

12:11 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...


Gail Dahms went to GRCI. She was a grade below me. Every boy (and I'm sure all the straight male teachers) had a crush on her. She was beautiful. I think I said "hi" to her once, but she either ignored me or didn't hear me. That was my first brush with celebrity.

12:14 p.m.  
Anonymous chrisso said...

Don't forget about the Blackberry Wireless - invented in Canada!

Knarf, not to burst your bubble, but hockey was not invented in Montreal. Obviously, there are many conflicting theories on when and where the game of hockey started but for all accounts the game evolved out the Irish field game called Hurley. Hurley is played year round in Ireland on a field with a ball and stick. This was played regularly in the fields of Nova Scotia back in the early 1800's.When winter came around Hurley was to difficult to play because of the rough ground caused by snow so the game was eventually moved onto the ice. This new game called "Hurley on Ice" basically started at King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia.It was also called Rickets and Shinny but was eventually called Hockey somewhere in the later part of the 1800's.

There is a story that a Royal Canadian Rifles officer stationed in Nova Scotia named "Hockey" for years had his men play this game and that's how the name of Hurley or Shinny changed to Hockey. In the early 1870's an engineer named James Creighton taught his friends at McGill University on how to play this new game of hockey he learned while living in Nova Scotia. The stage was set in Montreal in the mid 1870's for the first organized hockey game that was played inside a rink. James Creighton wrote up new rules called the "Halifax Rules" which had 9 players on each team.

So, yes, the first organized game was playe in Montreal but not invented there.

1:14 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...


No bubbles were burst. I used the word "invented" WRT hockey, because I took it from the original blog, but like virtually all games (basketball being one the few exceptions) hockey developed from earlier games; it clearly evolved and was not "invented".

There is also a theory that hockey evolved, not in the manner that you set out, but from a game that French-Canadian settlers saw the local natives play on ice, with curved sticks and a rock. The natives kept yelling "ho-gee!", meaning "it hurts" every time they got hit by a rock or stick. Ho-gee eventually became "hockey".

1:37 p.m.  
Blogger Sencer said...

thanks for informing us about the canadian day. I will certainly celeberate my canadian friends' canadian day. I may celeberate your next canadian day personally after my arrival to morocco. What does a canadian fancy having as a canadian day present?

2:35 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

BTW, since Nestles bought out Rowntrees long ago, does a Nestles boycott mean that I can no longer eat Smarties? That would be quite harsh, don't you think?

5:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Cath said...

The last we heard of Gail Dahms, she was slowly boring herself to death in Boise, Idaho.

7:55 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Seems to me that I heard something about her getting married to some absolute nerd, and popping out babies at an alarming rate.

That, of course, would dovetail quite nicely with your Boise (Private) Idaho information...

She was soooooo cute - mind you that was over 30 years ago. Sigh...

8:16 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to say a big thank you to Cat in Rabat. I only just found your site a few days ago and I love it! I am tucked up in bed with a snotty cold leaving me spare time to work my way chronologically backwards through all your posts. Im half way through April!
As a female that has lived in the medina of Fes for a year it is great to see someone else that has the same pet peeves as me and can write them so eloquently. My favourites have to be the Not Very Nice Men (unless you've put with the constant leering you can't know how annoying and exhausting it is. And nothing seems to put them off. It doesnt seem to matter how puffy the eyes, baggy the jelaba, or greasy the hair is.) and the washing problems (I am torn between being slothful by nature and being an extreme scrimper and saver, the saver won. I still hand wash. I have fond memories of the days when we first moved in and had one shin high tap, a kettle and a bucket... good times).
The summary of that long rant is: thank you and keep up the good work.

9:45 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Sencer: A treat from Canada is a difficult call - there is no 1 right answer. I crave Canadian chocolate bars. And beer.

Knarf: I have indulged in the off KitKat over here - let's think of them as Rowntree products as we slowly burn in hell.

Anonymous: Thanks for your kind words. Feel better soon!

10:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Alfie said...

Ps I just read 'The big bill production' April 17th 2006, thats incredible! It seems youve been living a carbon copy of my life in Fes. Aproximately 2months ago (possibly april 17th, who knows) i was stranded sarf-less in marjane after being refused change at the checkout. I ducked into the nearest shop and grabbed the cheapest thing, 'nectar bath-shower gel' (45Dh). Enough to get me some precious change and 2months of orange fragranced showers. Said bottle is nearly out so i know what to get next time im sarfless in marjane.
In addition, the worst sarf scenario has to be 4:59 pm, thursday (payday) in a restoration project with a dozen workmen that want paying and youve forgotten to do your weekly sarf collection. With one 20dh note and a wad of 100's, for the next 20minutes the craziest change run youll ever experience ensues. 5:19 pm, workmen paid. All local hanoots sarfless and extremely disgruntled. And ourselves definately in need of an orange fragranced shower.

10:33 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Alfie: I recommend the Laotian Lotus Gel!!!

12:44 p.m.  

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