Canadian Living

20 Canadian Medical Milestones

WE KNOW IT’S UNCANADIAN to brag about our collective awesomenes­s, but we have heaps of homegrown health discoverie­s, inventions and world bests that deserve in-your-face flaunting. Let’s hear it – loud and proud! – for these 20 Canadian achievemen­ts.


Through the decades, these discoverie­s have made the True North even stronger

Maple syrup.

Since the first maple tree was found in Quebec in 1542, the province has become the undisputed leader in maple syrup production, generating 71 percent of the world’s supply of sweet, sticky goodness – and some healthines­s too: Maple syrup kicks butt as an immune booster thanks to its naturally occurring manganese and zinc.

Peanut butter.

Millions of hungry children all over the world can thank Montrealer Marcellus Gilmore Edson for inventing protein-packed PB in 1884.


In 1921, University of Toronto researcher­s Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered the lifesaving treatment for diabetes.

Children’s health.

Nutrient- deficiency fighter. A team from SickKids hospital in Toronto is credited with the 1930 invention of Pablum, the first precooked infant cereal fortified with minerals and essential vitamins. Years later, in 1997, Stanley Zlotkin, a SickKids researcher, invented Sprinkles, a powdered micronutri­ent supplement that has helped prevent anemia and rickets in at least 30 million children in developing countries.

Electronic pacemaker.

We heart Manitoban Wilfred Bigelow, who codevelope­d the first electronic pacemaker in 1950 with fellow Canadians Dr. John Callaghan and John Hopps, an electrical engineer. Today, approximat­ely three million people worldwide have pacemakers, and about 600,000 more of the devices are implanted each year.

Since Bloorview Kids Rehabilita­tion Hospital opened in Toronto in 1899, it has become the largest hospital of its kind in Canada, serving over 7,000 children with brain injuries, cerebral palsy and other serious disabiliti­es. The hospital was the first to test medication­s for autism, a growing problem that now affects 1 in 88 children.

Electric wheelchair.

It was invented in 1954 by George Klein of the National Research Council Canada. Nurse practition­ers (NPs).

The first NP education program began in 1967 in Halifax. Today, thousands of Canadians (83,000 in Ontario alone) receive their health care primarily from NPs, who are trained to assess, diagnose and prescribe.

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