Canada’s given the world lots of awesome things — from stuff that's fun to stuff that saves lives! Here’s a look at just a few of the inventions that Canadians have come up with.
You wouldn’t think it from the tropical-sounding name, but Hawaiian pizza was first made in Canada! In 1962, Sam Panopoulus wanted something special for his Chatham, Ontario, restaurant. He started serving pizza and experimented with different toppings. One of the most popular combos was ham with chunks of pineapple, and the Hawaiian pizza was born! It quickly became popular around the world. But Hawaiian pizza has its haters too — recently the president of Iceland said that he wished that he could ban pineapple on pizza! He said he was joking (mostly) and that he liked fish on his pizza instead. You think he would appreciate this Canadian invention since his wife is from Canada.
Lacrosse is the official summer sport of Canada! It’s also one of the oldest sports in North America. Versions of lacrosse have been played by the First Nations for more than 500 years. Games back then were huge events with teams that could have as many as 1,000 people on them! Lacrosse stayed popular for centuries and became Canada’s national sport in 1859 — it wasn’t until 1994 that hockey was added as the national winter sport.
This global sport is another Canadian invention! Back in 1891, Dr. James Naismith from Almonte, Ontario, was looking for a game that could be played when it was too cold to go outside. He hung two peach baskets on either end of a gym and used a soccer ball. At first, whenever a player got a basket they’d have to climb a ladder to get the ball back — no one thought to put a hole in the bottom of the baskets until 1913! In honour of his invention, the basketball hall of fame is called the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Bombardier B12 snow vehicle. Wikimedia/Boombardier/CC BY-SA 3.0
Long winters inspired another well-known Canadian invention — the snowmobile! Joseph-Armand Bombardier was trying to figure out a better way to get around through the snow. He came up with the idea of putting a car engine on sled, with a propeller on the back. He was only 15 when he got his snowmobile to work!
Mashing up roasted peanuts has been around for a long time. The ancient Incas and Aztecs in South and Central America enjoyed peanuts, but it was a Canadian who invented a new peanut mashing process. Marcellus Gilmore Edson was a chemist in Montréal looking for a food for people who had a hard time chewing. He came up with a "peanut paste" which he described as being like "butter, lard or ointment." Fortunately, it tasted better than it sounded and he was able to patent and sell his creation. It wasn't until the 1920s that an American doctor figured out the process to make the smooth peanut butter we know today.
Dr. Charles Best and Dr. Frederick Banting, 1924
Canadian inventions aren’t just about sports and tastiness — they can also save lives! Working in Toronto in 1921, Dr. Frederick Banting and his assistant Dr. Charles Best discovered the hormone insulin and used it to develop life-saving treatments for people with diabetes. For his work, Dr. Banting became the first Canadian to win a Nobel Prize!