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Top 5 Canadian Inventions that Shaped our World

Updated on April 10, 2013

1. Insulin

The invention of Insulin, at the hands of Frederick Banting, was arguably one of the most important medical breakthrough's of the 20th century.

Before Insulin came along, if you had diabetes you awaited an almost certain death.

He discovered Insulin while reading about the effects that a dog's pancreas had on it's digestive system. He came up with some ideas, and headed to Toronto. Armed for the summer with 2 lab assistants and 10 test dogs, he discovered Insulin - winning him the Nobel Prize.

We all love radios!
We all love radios!

2. The Radio

That's right - this little box of destiny came straight out of Canada.

This invention came at the hands of Reginald Fessenden while he was working in Boston. He was working for the US Weather Bureau, and was tasked with developing an efficient way of communicating information over long distances. He worked on it for a few years, and in 1906 created the first AM Radio.

Today, radio's can be found in every car and alarm system. Our landscape has been covered with radio towers, meaning this invention has literally shaped our world!

Where have I seen this before? Oh yea - everywhere!
Where have I seen this before? Oh yea - everywhere!

3. The Java Programming Language

Java is, arguably, one of the most popular programming languages in the world, and was developed largely in part by James Gosling.

What most people don't know is that Java wasn't originally intended to be a computer programming language. Instead, it was meant to enable an "interactive" form of television. Only problem: this was the 1980s, Cable Companies couldn't handle that kind of technology.

While it was disappointing at first, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise; the world was gifted with a programming language that would eventually rock the technological industry.


4. Basketball

This may come as a surprise, considering Canada only has one professional basketball team.

James Naismith came up with this sport back in 1891. He was a Physical Education instructor at a YMCA, and was trying to find a way to keep students active during rainy days. It was a tricky task - the sport had to be gentle enough to be safe in a hard-floored and walled off area, while being as intensive as outdoor sports like Rugby.

After much trial and error, Basketball was invented. It's now played everywhere in the world, and has definitely shaped every recess break we ever had!

5. Garbage Bags

While Canada may have more famous inventions, such as the Canadarm and the pacemaker, Garbage Bags have earned themselves a spot on this list. Invented after World War II by Henry Wasylyk, they have shaped the world we live in through their worldwide use. In fact, many regions have begun to ban these plastic garbage bags because they shape the world a little too much - in a bad way.

For better or for worst, the inventions of many ingenious Canadian's have helped shaped the world we live in today.

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