Secret Life of Canada

Listen to the first season of Secret Life of Canada

Are you new to the Secret Life of Canada? Before joining CBC Podcasts, they produced several great episodes — both with Passport 2017 and independently — which are really worth a listen.
Left to right: Leah Simone-Bowen, Katie Jensen and Falen Johnson are the team behind the Secret Life of Canada. (The Secret Life of Canada)

Are you new to the Secret Life of Canada?

If so, you may not know that our podcast about our nation's untold and undertold stories started out as an indie production. 

Before joining CBC Podcasts, the podcast team produced several great episodes and lively shout outs to lesser-known people worth remembering. The first dozen were presented by Passport 2017 and the next few were made independently and later licensed by us — which means season one currently lives in two separate podcast feeds. 

So, to make life just a little easier for everyone who wants to hear season one in its entirety, we've posted the full back catalogue via Radio Public below. Please enjoy! 

The Secret Life of Banff

How did Banff come to be? A look back at how Indigenous people were moved off their land — and then how the national park was built by the forced labour of interned Ukrainian-Canadians. Skiing at Lake Louise will never feel the same again.

Shout Out to Rosemary Brown

Social worker turned politician Rosemary Brown (1930–2003) was Canada's first black female MPP and the first woman to run for leadership of a federal political party.

The Secret Life of Ipperwash

Ah, dock life — a crackling fire and the sound of loons on the water. But what came before cottage country? We look at how the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation were pushed off their land to make way for cottages, a park and even an army base.

Shout Out to Susan Olivia Poole

Meet Susan Olivia Poole (1889 - 1975), the first Indigenous woman to receive a patent with an invention that has been sold all over the world — the Jolly Jumper! 

The Secret Life of Birchtown

What we do really know about the history of black people in Canada? Sure, there's the Underground Railroad and the jazz prowess of Oscar Peterson — but what else? How about 200 years of slavery in Canada; the first race riot in North America; the false promise of "freedom and a farm"; or Birchtown, Nova Scotia, home to one of this country's first settlements of black people.

Shout Out to Abby Hoffman

Meet Abigail "Abby" Hoffman former Olympian and trailblazer who refused to be shut out of sporting glory. The Abby Hoffman Cup is named in her honour. 

The Secret Lives of Subversive Women

This episode might be the strangest piece of Canadiana we've found yet: and warning, it's not suitable for children. First, we go deep down a rabbit hole to investigate Bear by Marian Engel, a novella that won the Governor-General's Literary Award decades before it became an internet meme — because it's all about lady/bear sex. Next, we explore first- and second-wave feminism and the lives of women in Canada during Bear's time.

Shout Out to Les Mouches Fantastiques

Did you know the first LGBTQ publication in North America was made in Canada? Meet Elsa Gidlow and Roswell George Mills, creators of Les Mouches Fantastiques.

The Secret Life of Niagara Falls

We dive into one of Canada's most-visited tourist destinations — and self-professed honeymoon capital of the world —Niagara Falls, Ont. First, we explore the falls' geological formation and how they were divided between Canada and the United States. Next, all of the ways people have tried to make a buck off this natural wonder: from industrial polluters to daredevils in barrels to the wax museums of Clifton Hill. We also talk to some locals about what it's like to live there, and find out why the Maid of the Mist "legend" is so problematic.

The Secret Life of New Brunswick 

How would we get anything done if not for New Brunswickers? Visit the country's only bilingual province and meet the Acadians, the Maliseet, and generations of migrant workers. Hear local French dialects, and learn for yourself why NB's "drive-through" reputation is a lie.

This version features interviews conducted in French. 

This version contains interviews translated to English. 

Shout Out to Kenojuak Ashevak

Meet Kenojuak Ashevak, the world-renowned and multi-award winning artist and first lady of Inuit Art. "There is no word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal."

Shout Out to Beryl Potter

Meet Beryl Potter, an early activist and advocate for rights of persons with disabilities who didn't take no for an answer. 

Shout Out to Jackie Shane

Meet Jackie Shane, the singer and trailblazer that came to prominence during Toronto's bustling Yonge Street music scene during the 1960s.

The Secret Life of the North

Nunavut has the largest landmass out of all the provinces and territories in Canada — and yet, it is an area that many of us know the least about. In this episode, we look at the forced relocation of the Inuit, the Eskimo Identification System, and the dog slaughter perpetuated by the Canadian government.

Shout Out to Tom Longboat

Meet Tom Longboat, an Onondaga long distance runner born in 1887 on Six Nations. Tom became one of the most celebrated athletes of all time, despite his struggles and encountering racism throughout his career.

The Secret Life of Canadian Snacks

Canada is full of its own weird and wonderful snacks. From Pizza Pops to ketchup chips, we sample the tasty history of Canadian food.

Shout Out to Irene Uchida

Meet Irene Uchida. A Japanese Canadian scientist, she was one of thousands of Japanese Canadians who were imprisoned as part of the Japanese Internment during the First World War. Dr. Uchida went on to become a groundbreaking geneticist, transforming maternal and fetal health around the world.

The Secret Life of Statues

What do you have to do to get a statue in Canada? We put some of our most lauded historical figures on trial and deliberate their pros and cons. Who should be torn down and who should stay up? From the Famous Five to Terry Fox, we look at some of the best and worst.

Shout Out to Fred Sasakamoose

Meet Chief Running Deer, Fred Sasakamoose of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, the first Indigenous player in the NHL.