Spark the Conversation YYC Spark Blog

Five innovations you didn't know were Canadian

June 29, 2017
Posted By: Kat Dornian, Fluor Champion of Engineering Communication

Canadians are innovative people. We’ve always come together to solve problems, answer questions and explore possibilities. Today we continue that tradition today by pushing the limits of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). There are countless Canadian achievements in these fields to remember – here are just a few that stand out from recent history.

A fond piece of nostalgia for many is the Jolly Jumper. It came from the mind of a Canadian “mompreneur”, Susan Olivia Poole who invented the baby swing in 1910. The Jolly Jumper company now boasts more than 200 products, including the original jumper which continues to bring joy to many babies (and parents) each year.

One of the best-known Canadian achievements is the discovery of insulin in 1920 by Banting and Best. Diabetes used to mean certain death, but the discovery of insulin has allowed billions of people to live relatively normal and long lives.

The modern alkaline dry-cell battery and lithium battery owe their origins to the Canadian engineer, Lewis Urry. 80% of battery sales today can trace back to his inventions from the 1950s and 1980s.

In 1970, four Canadians debuted their invention of IMAX in Osaka, Japan. The new cinema experience offered something more spectacular than any movie experience before. There are currently more than 1,100 IMAX cinemas, some of which live in science centres around the world.

Canadians will be well-familiar with the robotic arm that’s seen on the back of the five-dollar bill. The Canadarm is one of Canada’s greatest contributions to the space program. For 30 years, it allowed astronauts to do difficult operations and maneuvers outside the spacecraft. The arm retired in 2011 after serving 90 shuttle missions.

Each of these innovations, as well as many others, came from the minds of curious and committed people. But, no discovery happens in a vacuum. If it weren’t for global collaboration, we wouldn’t see these incredible advancements in STEAM. With continued collaboration and innovation, there’s no doubt that Canadians and their global partners will continue to change the world in spectacular ways. The next 150 years hold unlimited potential!

*On Canada Day, July 1, TELUS Spark will be offering free admission for Canadian military personnel. To redeem this offer, present your Canadian Military personnel ID upon arrival. Family and friends joining you will pay the general admission price.

On Canada Day, guests can also enjoy free screenings of HORIZON, a 360 cinematic journey in the Dome Theatre that celebrates the people, landscapes and freedoms that make Canada home.