Secret Life of Canadawith Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson


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.

Meet Oronhyatekha, the Mohawk doctor who made history

Meet Dr. Oronhyatekha. A Mohawk doctor from Six Nations Reserve, "Dr. O" was one of the first Indigenous physicians in Canada. Baptised with the English name Peter Martin in 1841, this barrier-breaking man led a fascinating and influential life.

Why did Canadians volunteer to fight in the Vietnam War?

Is the Canada/U.S. border really the “longest undefended border” in the world? The Secret Life of Canada looks into this question and many more in their latest episode: The Medicine Line.

Meet Bernelda Wheeler — the First Lady of Indigenous Broadcasting

Bernelda Wheeler was one of the hosts of Our Native Land, a CBC Radio program by and for Indigenous people that ran from 1965 to 1985.

Prairie Pride: How Winnipeg became a hub of queer history

If you were asked to name a Canadian city with a rich queer history, would you think of Winnipeg? If the Manitoba capital doesn't quite top your list, the latest episode of The Secret Life of Canada — The Golden Boy —might just change your mind.  

An ode to grandmothers on International Women's Day

In a special shout out for International Women's Day, The Secret Life of Canada asked listeners to share stories about the amazing matriarchs hidden in their family histories.

5 amazing black trailblazers you should know year round

The Secret Life of Canada tells the stories of five black change-makers with legacies worth celebrating.

Here's why Canada doesn't have a Caribbean province

In the latest episode of The Secret Life of Canada, co-hosts Leah Simone-Bowen and Falen Johnson look at the historic connection between Canada and a number of islands and countries that make up the Caribbean.

Why water is worthy of the history books

Are you ready to ride waves of emotion with Secret Life's latest episode? Because there's laughter, alright, but also some tears. You've never heard Leah and Falen quite like this before.

Meet John Ware — legendary Black Cowboy

John Ware’s life took him from enslavement to legend. The first Black Cowboy in Alberta traveled hundreds of miles and greatly contributed to the Albertan ranching, agricultural and cattle industry.

The Secret Life of Canada wants a word with your history teacher

This unconventional podcast is for "people who want to have a critical discussion about Canadian history — but not fall asleep," according to Leah-Simone Bowen and her co-host Falen Johnson.

Meet Madhu Verma, child refugee turned newcomer advocate

Changed from her experience of displacement in childhood, Madhu Verma became an effective advocate on behalf of new Canadians in New Brunswick.