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A List of Inventions by Canadian Inventors that Changed the World

Updated on June 10, 2018

The world is a dynamic and changing place as it is driven by the needs of its inhabitants. As it has been said, Need is the Mother of Invention. As such, I have compiled a partial list of Canadian inventors whose inventions have changed our way of living on a day to day basis.

Imagine a world without zippers, McIntosh apples (that is, the edible one), basketball, green garbage bags, insulin, electric light bulbs, instant replays and hundreds of more items and processes.

We have all benefited from the creativity, ingenuity, courage, and strength of the inventors of our past, present and future who have, and will, shape the world that we live in. It is their ability to dream, to create, to forge and to carry out their passion that unites them. And we, as a society, have reaped the benefits of this.

A deep hearted “Thank you” for the inventors from around the world.

Lacrosse:  The Official Canadian Summer Sport
Lacrosse: The Official Canadian Summer Sport

Great ideas and great inventions:

Early Times to 1899


Date Unknown  Lacrosse

First Nations People

The official Canadian game of summer


1796  McIntosh Apple

John McIntosh

An edible fruit


1833  Screw Propeller

John Patch

Ship's propeller


1838  Newsprint

Charles Fenerty


1842 Compound Steam Engine

Benjamin Franklin Tibbetts 


1846  Kerosene

Doctor Abraham Gesner


1851 Andromonon

Thomas Turnbull

Three-wheeled vehicle


1854  Odometer

Samuel McKeen


1856  Potato Digger

Alexander Anderson


1857  Railway Sleeper Car

Samuel Sharp


1857  Undersea Telegraph Cable

Fredrick Newton Gisborne


1858  Air Conditioned Railway Coach

Invented by Henry Ruttan


1859  Automatic Foghorn

Robert Foulis 

Steam foghorn


1862  Green Ink

Thomas Sterry Hunt 

Currency ink


1869  Half-tone Engraving

Georges Edouard Desbarats and William Augustus Leggo


1869  Rotary Railroad Snowplow

J.E. Elliott


1874 Electric Light Bulb

Invented by Henry Woodward who sold his patent to Thomas Edison


1876 Automatic Machinery Lubricator

Elijah McCoy (the “Real McCoy” was coined after him)

Lubricating cup


1876  Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell


1878  Standard Time

Sir Sanford Fleming


1878  Telephone Handset

Cyril Duquet


1879  Rubber Shoe Heels

Elijah McCoy (Patent)


1882 Electric Cooking Range

Thomas Ahearn


1882 Separable Baggage Check Tags

John Mitchell Lyons


1883 Electric Streetcar

John Joseph Wright 


1889  Gramophone

Alexander Graham Bell and Emile Berliner 


1890 Electric Car Heater

Thomas Ahearn


1890  Bromine

Herbert Henry Dow

The process to extract bromine


1891  Basketball

James Naismith 


1892 Acetylene

Thomas L. Wilson

Production process


1892 Calcium Carbide

Thomas Leopold Willson

Production process


1892  Light Bulb Leads

Reginald A. Fessenden

Nckel and iron alloy


1896  Superphosphate Fertilizer

Thomas L. Wilson


1897 Lawn Sprinkler

Elijah McCoy



Alexander Graham Bell and his phone
Alexander Graham Bell and his phone


Wireless Phone and Bluetooth Accessory
Wireless Phone and Bluetooth Accessory

From 1900 to 1994

1900 Creed Telegraph System

Fredrick Creed

Pocess to convert Morse Code to text

1900 Wireless Radio

Reginald A. Fessenden

1903 Portable Film Developing System

Arthur Williams McCurdy invented in 1890 and then sold the patent to George Eastman

1904 Acetylene Buoy

Thomas L. Wilson

1904 Radio-Transmitted Voice

Reginald A. Fessenden

1907 Canada Dry Ginger Ale

John A. McLaughlin

A carbonated beverage

1908 Hydrofoil Boat

Alexander Graham Bell and Casey Baldwin

1908 Marquis Wheat

Sir Charles E. Saunders

1908 Robertson Screw

Peter L. Robertson

1909 Bowling – 5 Pin

T.E. Ryan

A sport

1910 Chocolate Nut Bar

Arthur Ganong

First nickel bar

1913 Railway Car Brake

George B. Dorey

1913 Zipper

Gideon Sundback

1915 Gas Mask

Cluny Macpherson

1915 Helium from Natural Gas

Sir John Cunningham McLennan

Process to Extract

1919 Fathometer

Reginald A. Fessenden

An early form of sonar

1922 Insulin

Fredrick Banting, J. J. Macleod, Charles Best and James Collip

Extraction and Production Process

1922 Variable Pitch Aircraft Propeller

Walter Rupert Turnbull

1925 AC Radio Tube

Edward Samuels Rogers

1925 Snowblower

Arthur Sicard

1925 Wirephoto

Edward Samuels Rogers

1927 Television System

Reginald A. Fessenden

Television system (patent)

1927 Quartz Clock

Warren Marrison

1928 Electric Organ

Morse Robb

1930 Baby Pablum

Drs. Alan Brown, Theodore Drake, Frederick Tisdall

Perfect baby cereal

1930 Road Lines

John D. Millar

1931 Plexiglas

William Chalmers

Polymerized Methyl Methacrylate

1934 Television Camera

F. C. P. Henroteau

1937 Electron Microscope

Eli Franklin Burton, Cecil Hall, James Hillier, Albert Prebus

1940 Paint Roller

Norman Breakey of Toronto

1941 Anti-Gravity Suite

Wilbur Rounding Franks

High altitude suit for jet pilots

1942 Walkie Talkie

Donald L. Hings

1945 Music Synthesizer

Hugh Le Caine

1949 Avro Jetliner

James Floyd

Commercial jetliner design (North America)

Test flight: August 10, 1949

1950 Garbage Bag

Harry Wasylyk

Green polyethylene bag

1950 Heart Pacemaker

Dr. John A. Hopps

1953 Synthetic Sucrose

Dr. Raymond Lemieux

1955 In Game Replays

George Retzlaff and CBC Hockey Night in Canada

Instant replay in sporting events

1957 Analytical Plotter

Uno Vilho Helava

3D map-making system

1957 Automatic Postal Sorter

Maurice Levy

200,000 letters per hour

1957 Poutine

Fernand Lachance

A classic culinary delight (French fries, cheese curds, gravy)

1957 Tuck-Away-Handle Beer Carton

Steve Pasjac

1958 R-Theta Navigation System

J.E.G. Wright

1958 Snowmobile

Joseph-Armand Bombardier

1959 Jolly Jumper

Olivia Poole

Baby's jumping delight

1960 Bone Marrow Compatibility Test

Barbara Bain


1960 Goalie Mask

Jaques Plante

1962 Instant Mashed Potatoes

Edward A. Asselbergs

Dehydrated potato flakes

1964 Plunge and Push Bra

Louise Poirier at Wonderbra

Revolutionary bra

1965 Stereo-orthography Map Making System

T.J. Blachut and Stanley Collins

1966 Rotary Blow Molding Machine

Gustave Côté

Plastic bottle maker

1967 Agrifoam Crop Cold Protector

D. Siminovitch & J. W. Butler

1968 IMax Movie System

Grahame Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, and Robert Kerr

1970 SlickLicker

Richard Sewell

For cleaning oil spills (patent)

1971 Prosthetic Hand

Helmut Lucas

Electric prosthetic

1971 UV-degradable Plastics

Dr. James Guillet

1972 Computerized Braille

Roland Galarneau

1972 Polypump Liquid Dispenser

Harold Humphrey

1974 Safety Paint

Neil Harpham

Highly reflective paint

1974 Tone-to-Pulse Converter

Michael Cowpland

1979 Trivial Pursuit

Chris Haney and Scott Abbott

Memory and history board game

1983 Film Colourization

Wilson Markle

1984 Abdomizer

Dennis Colonello

Informercial exercise

1986 Able Walker

Norm Rolston

A walker (patent)

1986 Silicon Chip Blood Analyzer

Imants Lauks

1989 CPR Mannequin

Dianne Croteau

1991 Access Bar

Dr. Larry Wang

Fat burning bar (patent)

1994 JAVA

James Gosling

Software programming language


Copyright 2009 

© 2009 Beth100


Submit a Comment
  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Canada

    Jyle Dupuis -- Thank you for this addition to the list. :)

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Canada

    Vinaya Ghimire -- Canadians are humble and we are a quiet lot. :) Many people believe that Graham Bell is American. You are not the only one. I hope you enjoyed discovering some great Canadian inventors!

  • Jyle Dupuis profile image

    Jyle Dupuis 

    8 years ago from Henrico, Virginia

    Don't forget the United States WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War rifle (1938-1957) "M1 Garand." Invented by John Garand a Canadian born from St-Remi, Quebec. However, he was working for the Springfield Armory when he invented it and never received any royalties or bonuses despite its success.

  • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

    Vinaya Ghimire 

    8 years ago from Nepal

    I was not aware about Canadian inventors. I always thought Grahame Bell was form the US.

    Thanks for sharing the information.

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Canada

    GNelson -- Happy to be a part of your learning experience. :) This is only a partial list, and hopefully, I'll be able to add to this in the near future.

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Canada

    ttt -- Not only are the great, but they have made all our lives easier. We're so lucky to have creative geniuses in our lives as they share the products of their creativity with us! Thank you.

  • GNelson profile image


    9 years ago from Florida

    Wow, quite a list. I thought edison invented the light bulb. Learn something every day, thanks.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    these inventions are great!!!!!!

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Canada

    CalgaryGuy -- I've heard of patent squatters and have heard of large corporations purchasing the patents and simply holding them, not bringing them to market until they can profit from previous inventions. I can't help but wonder how many great inventions are in the closet because of profiteering. Thanks for your eye and mind opening comment.

  • CalgaryGuy profile image

    David Watson 

    9 years ago from Canada

    I've been through the process of patents and inventions, and it's brutal! Pretty well anything you can thing up has already been thought of and locked down by people (patent squatters). They sit on it, doing nothing and wait for somebody else to bring a product to market, then they sue them. That's how they make money and it doesn't bode well for inventors and entrepreneurs. It also stifles the progress of new and great products coming to the marketplace. What a shame, but the good news is that laws are coming to turn it all around. Pretty soon it will not be the guy who thought of the idea (and sat on a patent) who is entitled to the profits, but the person who brings the product to market.

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Canada

    h - I didn't see this comment coming!

  • profile image

    9 years ago


  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Canada

    Tom -- ha ha ha I lived in Montreal for several years, but I hail from the Rockies. I'm a lifelong fan of the Habs and nothing will change my heart in that department. Hmmm...are you a relocated Canadian?? I tried to figure out where southeast of Buffalo is, but I couldn't find much on the map. :) Care to embellish this a bit?

  • tom hellert profile image

    tom hellert 

    9 years ago from home


    Oh Canada our home and native land true patriot love ....Sounds like your from quebec maybe Montreal-

    I am from just South East of Buffalo but I have a not so secret secreti live in buffalo bit i am a card carrying member of THE LEAFS Nation. But I won't hold ypour potential Habfanship cloud my judgement on your interesting writing....

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Canada

    Vince - De rien. J'aime écrire sur notre pays. Je suis heureux que vous êtes venu et de lire mon article. Merci.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    merci beaucoup

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from Canada

    RickZ -- Thanks for checking out our inventions. I'll be sure to check out yours...maybe we can link each other. :)

  • rickzimmerman profile image

    Rick Zimmerman 

    10 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    Beth: interesting and seemingly exhaustive list. Good job! If you'd like to see some more cool ideas, check out my hub Inventions I'd Like to See, or just plain old Wisdom. (And don't miss The Cactoose!) Regards, RickZ

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from Canada

    Mythbuster -- We, Canadians, are not only creative and inventive, we're quite humble too! There are even more great inventions in the last 50 years, but that might be for another hub. Thank you! :)

  • mythbuster profile image


    10 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

    1925 Snowblower - also, the snowmobile well, of course! *slaps forehead* Canadian winters. But Jolly Jumper...that surprised me. This is a really cool list. I hadn't known many of the medical inventions - just the Insulin stuff.

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from Canada

    PDH -- Aw, thanks Maita! Can you imagine life without these inventions?!? I'm grateful for creative people who invent gadgets and such for us! Always a pleasure when you drop in Maita! Thanks! :)

    Tony -- Yeah, Molson is the most important product from Canada! We rock! But, I didn't list it as "beer" is not a Canadian invention. It has been documents in ancient times in China and Egypt. Thanks for coming by Tony -- I always enjoy it when you do! :)

  • tony0724 profile image


    10 years ago from san diego calif

    Beth you forgot Molson Ale by far and away the most Important product to ever come out of Canada !

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    10 years ago from US

    wow, great research Beth and they are all useful! Thank you, maita

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from Canada

    Agvulpes -- lol I bet not! Not only missing out on the royalties, but even the acknowledgement that their forefather was the inventor! oooo, those history books need to be straighted out with respect to details. lol Thanks for the comment - has me wondering and smiling too! :)

  • agvulpes profile image


    10 years ago from Australia

    Beth100, I bet the descendants of Henry Woodward are not too happy now ? I would love to know how much in royalties have been paid out for the light bulb.

    A great list of Canadian Inventors :-)

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from Canada

    Low Power Microscope -- Thank you for leaving your positive feedback.

    Mtsi -- The "invention" of hockey as being solely Canadian is in question, thus I omitted it from the list. Undoubtedly, it is the sport of Canadians and associated with Canada. Thank you for mentioning it, as I am sure many have wondered why it was not listed.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    even though you left out ice hockey this was very interesting and I enjoyed the many contributions Canadians have made...thanks

  • profile image

    Low Power Microscope 

    10 years ago

    Always a pleasure to come across some work that is useful, thankyou for the information keep the good stuff pouring in

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from Canada

    Lgali - Knowledge and education -- two wonderful swords to live by! Thanks for visiting!

  • Lgali profile image


    10 years ago

    very nice list thanks for sharing

  • profile image

    Sarah, Jordan, and Bradley 

    11 years ago

    That was very interesting, and we didn't know that some of the stuff was invented in canada.

    Good Job!!!!

  • Beth100 profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago from Canada

    Thank you, Euro-pen. I learned a lot

    BC, thanks! You have a nice weekend too and I'll check in this afternoon!

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Yet another great hub moi friend, didnt log in because I dont want it showing in my hubtivity, enjoy yer weekend Beth ; )

  • euro-pen profile image


    11 years ago from Europe

    Very interesting list. I have to admit that I did not associate most of these inventions with Canada. Thank you for teaching me the importance of Canada for so many useful inventions which are everywhere in our daily life since decades now.


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