Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!
That means it is Canadian trivia time!

Hardy Boys
The original Hardy Boys series was ghostwritten by a Canadian —Charles Leslie McFarlane, who wrote under the pseudonym, Franklin W. Dixon. Twenty-one books of the Hardy Boys series are attributed to him. Born in Carleton Place, Ontario, (near Ottawa), he lived in Haileybury. He was also an accomplished documentary writer, (Herring Hunt, nominated for an Oscar in 1953) and he wrote the 1953 documentary Here’s Hockey for the National Film Board.

The hockey and writing bugs were obviously passed on to his son Brian McFarlane, who not only played the game, but went on to become a host and commentator on Hockey Night in Canada for 27 years. Not surprisingly, he authored dozens of best-selling hockey books as well and was recently awarded the Order of Canada.

Canadian Inventions
Speaking of hockey… It was a Montreal Canadien goalie, Jacques Plante, who invented the fibreglass goalie mask back in 1951, changing the face (literally!) of hockey. (Wikipedia)

Plastic Glass Protection
It became even more famous during COVID for protecting us, and in the early 1930s, it was William Chalmers, PhD’30, McGill, who devised a new method for producing an important but scarce ingredient of plastic “glass”: methyl methacrylate. Using two readily available materials – acetone and hydrogen cyanide – Chalmers was able to produce this substance in large quantities, enabling the mass commercialization of plastic glass in America and Britain. (McGill University)

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Inventive and Innovative Inuit
Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic regions first developed the kayak, at least two thousand years ago. Originally kayaks were made from whalebone or wooden frames covered by sealskins sewn together or other animal hides smeared with animal fat for waterproofing.

The Inuit were also credited for developing sunglasses/snow goggles thousands of years ago. Created out of wood, leather, bone or antlers, with narrow slits cut out as eye holes, users not only protected their eyes, but created better vision.

The Real McCoy
Canadian Elijah McCoy (the son of two formerly enslaved people who escaped slavery and fled to Colchester, Ontario) patented an important improvement to rubber heels in 1879. there is a great play about him written by Toronto playwright Andrew Moodie called The Real McCoy.

Next time you turn on your lawn sprinkler or move your ironing board around, you can thank him for the inventions. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/

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Jolly Jumper = Jolly Parents
If you have used a Jolly Jumper to keep your babies happy, you can thank Canadian inventor Olivia Poole. She based her design off what elders used on the White Earth Indian Reservation (in the United States) where she grew up. The Jolly Jumpers became very popular, and by 1959 Poole’s factory was producing several thousand units per month. She was a trailblazer and one of the first Indigenous women in Canada to patent an invention.

Last but not least… Local Legends

CHAT GBT Detector
On January 2, 2023, Edward Tian, a Princeton student who hails from Etobicoke, tweeted: “I spent New Years building GPTZero — an app that can quickly and efficiently detect whether an essay is ChatGPT or human written.”
And overnight he became an international sensation for his creation, developed in a local coffee shop.

Historian Halhed—Another Legend
I have written about her before, but I will do so again because I love local history. In her thirty- five years as an Etobicoke resident, Vera Alice Halhed devoted countless hours to numerous community causes. She was a founding member of the Etobicoke Historical Society, worked as the editor of the Etobicoke Press and wrote for the Toronto Daily Star and the Toronto Telegram. She was also a convenor of the Etobicoke General Hospital, a charter member of the Queensway General Hospital auxiliary and a strong advocate for patients’ rights in the early 1980s.

Halhed was an art lover and a fabulous painter. She was an original member of the Etobicoke City Hall Art Gallery Committee, which founded the gallery in 1976, creating an ongoing public venue for visual arts in Etobicoke. Halhed was also successful in her efforts to preserve significant heritage buildings, including Montgomery’s Inn.

We have so much to be proud of in Canada, from our past, our present and definitely our future. And these amazing people are but a drop in the bucket of Canadian excellence! Send me your ideas on Canadian excellence and I will share the best in my newsletters and on social media.

Have a great summer!

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