Top-Ten Canadian Contributions to the American Way of Life

Updated on August 13, 2014

In the United States little to no attention is paid to their Canadian neighbours to the North. I mean why should they, we all live in Igloos and endure year long winters. Who would think that we have made any significant contribution to the betterment of American life. It pains me to learn that very few of our cousins South of the border know anything about Canada. So here we go, let me give you my list of Top-Ten Canadian Contributions to the American way of life.

Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter

10. Food & Beverages

Its not just the United States who have reinvented the way we eat, Canadians have added their own flavour to our food supply. Canadians have always had a different appetite and for that reason have a few food and beverage items Americans have later adopted.

  • Canada Dry Ginger Ale - Created by pharmacist John J. McLaughlin in 1907, ginger ale grew in popularity in the United States during the height of the prohibition years as the ginger helped mask the smell of liquor.
  • Poutine - French Canadian dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy. Soo good.
  • Peanut Butter - Patented by Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884, it was developed to serve as a dietary supplement for people with poor to no teeth.

Again, these are just to name a few of the many foods we all know and love.

Notre-Dame Basilica - Montreal
Notre-Dame Basilica - Montreal | Source

9. Quebec

The Canadian province of Quebec is a contribution in and of itself. It gives Americans the ability to sample French culture without having to go to France where they are usually less than hospitable to tourists. I am always happy to find out that my Americans friends have or want to drive up to Montreal to sample their unique architecture, food and language. As a Quebecer myself I'd just like to say that we love to share our French heritage with our Southern neighbours, so come on Quebec the next time you want to experience something different.

Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell

8. Inventions

There are many inventions that are attributed to Canadians and ex-patriots living in the United States.

  • Telephone - Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone was a Scottish/Canadian living in the US when he registered his patent. He later became an American through immigration.
  • M1 Garand Rifle - Canadian born John C. Garand invented the rifle when he worked at the Springfield Armory. Called "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General Patton, the M1 was a revolutionary new weapon for its time and became the standard weapon of the US Army from 1936-1957, serving as the principle rifle for soldiers in World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars.
  • Insulin - Discovered by Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip as a treatment for diabetes, insulin has saved countless lives.

There are many more Canadian inventions that we all use daily - these are just to name a few.

7. Bombardier

Bombardier is a company that began in 1941 by Joseph-Armand Bombardier. He is credited for inventing the snowmobile and from those humble beginnings built a multi-national business that now builds everything from commuter trains, airplanes (de Havilland, Challenger, Canadair and Learjets), and recreational vehicles (Ski-Doo, Lynx, Sea-Doo, ATV, and the new Can-Am Spyder).

Canadarm
Canadarm

6. Canadarm

Developed by the National Aeronautical Establishment in 1981 to be used by NASA, the Canadarm is our little contribution for space exploration. The Canadarm has proven itself to be an invaluable tool used to do everything from launching satellites to building the International Space Station.

5. Celine Dion & Cirque du Soleil

Celine Dion and the Cirque du Soleil are credited for saving Las Vegas after tourism dropped following September 11, 2001. Their regular performances at the casino's on the strip helped attract more visitors who were avoiding plane travel after the hijackers shook America's confidence in airport security after 9/11. Las Vegas tourism was already slumping before 9/11 when little variety was being shown at the casino - there is only so many times you can see bad Elvis impersonations. Both Celine and the Cirque are from my hometown of Montreal, Quebec so I have a special love for this proud Canadian contribution.

4. Anne of Green Gables

I was a big fan of the Anne of Green Gables books and movie series as well as the off-shoot TV series Road to Avonlea as a kid. But I am always shocked at how popular the series was in the United States. Inspiring a generation of children to read is never a bad thing.

Hockey
Hockey

3. Organized Sports

I am not sure of the reason but Americans have really embraced Canadian sports. If you are unsure of what I am talking about let's name a few games that have made their way into the American culture.

  • Lacrosse - The official Canadian National Sport, Lacrosse is played throughout the United States in high schools and universities.
  • Hockey - The unofficial national sport of Canada, the United States have more hockey teams in the NHL than Canada.
  • Baseball - Did this one catch you by surprise? Variations of bat and ball games have been played since Medieval times, but the version that closely resembles modern day baseball was played in Beachville, Ontario in 1838. Soon after, Baseball was played throughout the United States.
  • Basketball - Created by Canadian American Dr. James Naismith as a way to keep children at the local YMCA physically active in the winter, basketball was originally played using a peach basket as the net.

United State oil & gas consumption source by country.
United State oil & gas consumption source by country.

2. Gasoline

The gas that you pump is partially Canadian. In fact, the United States only produces 36% of their oil and gas consumption needs. The remaining 64% has to be imported from other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. But the majority of US oil imports come from Canada at a whopping 21%. That makes Canada the single largest supplier of oil and gas to the United States.

1. Tim Hortons

Created by a Canadian hockey player of the same name, Tim Horton is by far the symbol for Canadianship, and it is expanding rapidly into the United States. There are over 4,000 Timmies (as we affectionately call them) in operation throughout the world. In the United States, locations are spread in throughout the Northern States but their expansion is expected to continue. The coffee is better (some accuse Tim Horton's of putting crack in their brew), the donuts are better and they make healthy sandwiches when you are too tired of eating burgers. In Canada you almost never see a line outside of a Starbucks like you do at a Tim Horton's.

Questions & Answers

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      • NomadsCanada profile image

        NomadsCanada 

        2 years ago

        you forgot Justin Bieber.

      • Rodric29 profile image

        Rodric Anthony Johnson 

        5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

        I notice that many of our singers and actors come from Canada. Some of the best people I know come from there. I was told once that Canada culturally was equivalent to a big Utah excluding Salt Lake. It is clean and crime is not rampant like in the US.

      • Levellandmike profile image

        Mike Simmons 

        5 years ago from Levelland, Texas

        I knew Shatner was, and I thought I'd read somewhere Nimoy was also, but in checking AFTER speaking (I'm known for that!) I find he was born in Boston.

        Hell, half the people involved in Star Trek have some connection to Canada.

      • Jyle Dupuis profile imageAUTHOR

        Jyle Dupuis 

        5 years ago from Henrico, Virginia

        Too funny! I don't think Leonard Nimoy is Canadian - but William Shatner is.

      • Levellandmike profile image

        Mike Simmons 

        5 years ago from Levelland, Texas

        ...And of course: "The Guess Who," "Bachman-Turner Overdrive," Jan Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, James "Scotty" Doohan, Leonard Nimoy, Shania Twain.....

      • Jyle Dupuis profile imageAUTHOR

        Jyle Dupuis 

        5 years ago from Henrico, Virginia

        True that. For some reason our government in Canada likes to downplay their military effort and we don't have an industry like Hollywood where historical events are glorified and exaggerated. So it's always fun to learn the hidden victory and achievements made by our 'little' country.

      • Levellandmike profile image

        Mike Simmons 

        5 years ago from Levelland, Texas

        From an American's viewpoint, ya forgot a couple of things:

        1...The Canadian Football League. Been a Hamilton TigerCats fan since the '70's...OSKIE WEE WEE! Far more entertaining than the personality cult known as the NFL.

        2...Tehran Hostage Crisis. I have not forgotten (and never will) how Canadians rescued some of our hostages.

        3...BOTH World Wars.

        4...War on Terror.

        True, we don't always see eye-to-eye at all times on all things, but that's just how things go.

        We Americans couldn't ask for a better friend on our northern border. I've made several trips to Canada (mostly Ontario) and have received warm welcomes everywhere I go.

        Canadians have every right and reason to be proud.

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