Secret Life of Canada | CBC Radio | Podcasts


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.

What's the deal with blackface?

Leah and Falen talk to Dr. Cheryl Thompson and look at the grim legacy of the minstrel show, what “O, Canada” has to do with it, and how Canadian universities are connected.

Close your textbooks. 'Podcasts In Class' switches up the lesson plan

Six episodes of the podcasts Tai Asks Why and The Secret Life of Canada have been adapted into classroom-ready lessons, complete with slideshows, videos, activities, and even homework.

Sasquatch and Ogopogo deserve better than a crappy T-shirt

In the first full episode of Season 3, Leah and Falen explore the truth behind two very old stories. Sasquatch and Ogopogo are legendary creatures of land and sea — but how exactly did they go from sacred figures in Indigenous oral histories to terrifying beasts and dopey-looking mascots?

Who are the women who've looked after Canada's children?

The Secret Life of Canada looks at the changing face of caregivers in Canada.

Meet Autumn Peltier, teen water warrior

It's our first shout out to a living youth leader! Meet Autumn Peltier. Greatly influenced by her great aunt Josephine Mandamin, Autumn has been using her voice to advocate for water rights since she was 8 years old.

The most famous Vancouverite you've never heard of

The Secret Life of Canada's first mailbag episode! You asked and we answered your burning history questions which took us to the Cowichan sweater, Cheezies, the legacy of Hawaiian Canadians in B.C and one guy named Portuguese Joe.

Atuat Akittirq has dedicated her life to keeping Inuit culture alive

Atuat Akittirq is a knowledge keeper. Following her family's forced relocation, she's used traditional skills and artistry to keep Inuit culture alive.

What do you really know about The Indian Act? 

How and why did The Indian Act come to be? And why is it still on the books? (Hint: something this deeply rooted is hard to exhume without changing the foundation.) 
Point of View

What should I do with my great-grandma's copy of the Indian Act?

Secret Life of Canada's Falen Johnson reflects on the not-so-distant past, a story told through two objects she found at her great-grandmother's house.

Gay Asians of Toronto were pioneers of diversity in Pride

As Pride celebrations kick off, The Secret Life of Canada shouts out the Gay Asians of Toronto (GAT). Formed in 1980, this organization is thought to be the first LGBT group for non-white queerfolks in Canada.

Is Victoria home to North America's Oldest Chinatown?

Most major cities across Canada have a Chinatown - but how did they start, and why? This episode, a look at the early history of Chinese people this side of the Pacific, and the historic Chinatown in B.C. that predates Confederation.