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Top 7 Canadian Inventions that Changed the World


Despite being the second largest country in the world, Canada boasts a population smaller than California’s. However, this hasn’t stopped Canadians from dishing out some of the most influential inventions of the past century. Let’s take a look at some Canadian inventions that have shaped our world.



1. The SONAR – Reginald Fessenden (1912)

The original SONAR was developed by Canadian Reginald Fessenden while he was working in Boston. It was capable of depth sounding, Morse Code communications, and echo ranging.

During World War I, the ability to detect enemy submarines and landmines was indispensable. The original SONAR, developed by Reginald Fessenden, paved the way to more advanced systems that changed underwater warfare forever.

2. Insulin – Frederick Banting (1921)

Diabetes was once a feared and very fatal disease; many people would perish every year because of it. To be diagnosed with diabetes was to be given a death sentence. This all changed when Frederick Banting discovered Insulin in 1921.

In 1920, Frederick was reading a paper from 1889 that was studying the effects of a dog’s pancreas on it’s digestive system. Having come up with an idea while reading the paper, Frederick jotted it down and, the following year, traveled to Toronto to test his idea.

After much convincing, he was able to get a professor at the University of Toronto to lend him his lab, 10 test dogs, and 2 lab assistants for the summer.

By the end of the summer, insulin was discovered – much to the delight of the world. Since then, it has been saving the lives of countless diabetics – and will continue to do so in the future.


Insulin is used everyday by million of diabetics worldwide


3. The Radio – Reginald Fessenden (1906)                    

Canadian Reginald Fessenden is to thank for the radio. He discovered the radio while working for the United States Weather Bureau. They needed a practical way of transmitting weather data, and he was determined to create one. After it’s creation, he moved on to work for General Electric, where he further refined his invention. Nobody back then could have anticipated just how important the radio would be. The radio plays an important role in our everyday lives, and is a common fixture in many automobiles, cell phones, alarm clocks etc. As huge radio towers continue to be built worldwide, it’s easy to see how the radio continues to shape the world we live in.

Ferrari Radio

Check out the radio on that Ferrari!


4. The External Pacemaker – John Hopps (1950)

The beating of our hearts is what keeps us alive; until the pacemaker arrived in 1950, if there was something wrong with your heart you were as good as dead.

Pacemakers work by using electrical signals to regulate the beating of your heart. While John Hopp’s pacemaker saved the lives of many, it was far from pretty. It worked by delivering pulses of electric current through the patient’s chest, a painful technique that is now reserved for medical emergencies. To make things worst, it posed the risk of electrocuting the patient.

Despite this, the pacemaker developed by John Hopps set the foundation for more refined (and less deadly) pacemakers that are still used today in millions of patients.

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