Secret Life of Canada | CBC Radio | Podcasts


Crash course on losing the Shanghai Restaurant

Falen and Leah look into the history of Winnipeg's Shanghai Restaurant, owned by the Lee family for over 70 years.

The Potlatch Ban

The nearly 70-year ban on the potlatch continues to have ripple effects on many First Nations along the Pacific Northwest decades after it officially ended.

Crash course on Bread and Cheese

Bread and cheese are delicious — but did you know it’s also a day?!

Eugenics in Canada: Leilani Muir's fight for justice

Along with thousands of other people, Muir was forcibly sterilized as part of a robust government plan for members of the population it deemed "unfit." 

Homeless Memorial

In this crash course we look at the work of artist and activist Bonnie Briggs and how she sought to bring attention to the housing crisis across the country.

The Forgotten War

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the active fighting in the Korean War.

A patty by any other name isn't a patty

In 1985, the Canadian government wanted to ban 'patties' to describe Jamaican patties because they thought calling hamburger patties and Jamaican patties the same thing would be too confusing.

Crash Course on the Moose Jaw Tunnels

Deep below the city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan lies a network of tunnels from the past. But what is the truth and what is lore?

Jewish Montreal: A culinary history

Montreal's history as the center of Canada's Jewish community has led to a rich culinary legacy.

Newfoundland, the one who almost got away

We find out why Newfoundland held out until 1949 to join Canada, what it all meant for the Indigenous people in Newfoundland and Labrador and what the colour of margarine had to do with it.

Crash Course on Rat-berta

Is it true that Alberta is a rat-free province? Is there really a Rat Patrol? We find out the truth behind the province’s rat hating reputation.

Falen Johnson and Leah-Simone Bowen head to the mall in season five premiere of The Secret Life of Canada

Where have all the malls gone? And what happens to a mall when it “dies?” In this episode we look into how the mall started, what it looked like in its heyday and what happened when it began to decline. Put on your acid washed jeans and turn up the muzak.

What surprised the Secret Life of Canada team?

Season four of the history podcast was full of some eye opening facts — here are some stand-outs as chosen by the Secret Life of Canada team.

Was Shanawdithit really the last Beothuk?

Throughout the years, the Beothuk people have been written about as an “extinct” nation, whose numbers were few at the time of European contact to Newfoundland. By 1828, they were all gone except one woman named Shanawdithit. She is now known as "the last Beothuk" but was she?

How the donair became the official food of Halifax

Falen and Leah speak to Book of Donair author Lindsay Wickstrom about how its originator, Greek immigrant Peter Gamouloukas, brought the kebab to Nova Scotia in the 1970s and invented the signature sweet sauce.

Why are there so many Canadians in Pro Wrestling?

In this episode, the Secret Life of Canada explores the fun and problematic past of performance wrestling and learns why it was as popular as hockey in its early days.

The history behind Canada's 'homosexuality test'

For decades, Canada attempted to purge queer people out of the public service and the military. We look into why it all started during the Cold War, what the fear of the Soviet Union had to do with it and how the invention of a homosexuality test nicknamed “The Fruit Machine” was supposed to aid in the RCMP’s investigations. Spoiler alert — it didn't work. With guest Gary Kinsman.

North America's oldest Little India is Vancouver's Punjabi Market

In this episode, the Secret Life of Canada looks at some of the early history of South Asian people in B.C including the stories of those first to arrive, the long fight for voting rights and the story of the Komagata Maru.

The truth behind the boy in the picture

The Secret Life of Canada investigates the history behind one of the most referenced images connected to the Canadian Residential School system.

The woman who stood up to the Premier

In 1934, after years of being assaulted by the Premier of Alberta John Edward Brownlee, Vivian did the unthinkable. She sued him ... and won.

Why the 'Indians of Canada Pavilion' at Expo 67 still matters

If you weren't around for Expo 67, you may not get why Montreal's world fair was a big deal for 100-year-old Canada. Consider this: in the golden age of PR, Expo attracted 50 million visitors to a country of 20 million people. But there was one pavilion that wanted to tell a more nuanced story.

Why you should know the Indian Film Crew

In the late 60s the National Film Board decided it was time that First Nations got to be behind the camera and in charge of how they were seen. Although short lived, the Indian Film Crew would create films that changed how the NFB operated, as well as the face of Indigenous filmmaking in this country.

How Mountie mythology helped create a romantic vision of Canada

The Secret Life of Canada explores how Canadian Mounties became cultural heroes. They explore the image of the Mountie in early Hollywood, what Irish and Indian resistance to British rule has to do with it, and why young Canada felt a greater need for policing in the West.

Kanesatake: Let's talk about what happened long before the 'Oka Crisis'

Anniversaries are a strange thing in Canada, depending on who you are and which side you're watching from. It's been 30 years since an event you may know as the Oka Crisis; but that's not where the story begins for The Secret Life of Canada. 

Why aren't there more Japantowns in Canada?

In the latest episode — Where is Japantown? — hosts Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson look into Japanese Canadian history and how the internment of more than twenty thousand Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War altered countless lives and split up entire communities.