9 Gifts Canada Has Given The World

Canada's gift to the world: Justin Bieber

Say what? There are 500 million active users on Twitter, and as of last count, the Biebs was responsible for 3 precent of the site's total traffic. He’s now got 24 million followers, second only to Lady Gaga, and he's 3rd on Forbes’ latest list of the world’s most powerful celebrities. In an era in which swiping music is the norm, he's sold 15 million albums. He earned US$55-million last year.
Why Canadians should be proud: Because he’s the most popular Canadian export ever. He’s our Abba, our Beatles, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan rolled into one. And despite all of his fame, and the relentless scrutiny he surely endures, he’s yet to embarrass us. No Lindsay Lohan crackups, no Michael Jackson-esque chimpanzees, no public tantrums. A devout Christian with a relationship with Jesus, apparently, he’s made a belieber out of us all.

Canada's gift to the world: Nickelback 
Say what? I know, I know--but stay with me. Think of the Canadian greats… Rush, Tragically Hip, Neil Young, put them together and they couldn’t touch the numbers of these guys. 50 million albums sold, four albums in Billboard’s top 10 for the 2000s, Billboard’s Rock Group of the Decade, winners of the Rock Song of the Decade, 28 Juno nominations, the honours go on and on.  Why Canadians should be proud: We could say something snarky about their start as a cover band called “Village Idiots”, or  music about  lead singer Chad Kroeger celebrating their success by speeding drunk through the suburbs of Vancouver in his $175,000 Lamborghini, but let’s look at this from a business perspective. Nickelback took a tired and derivative rock and roll formula into an intensely crowded market and came out on top.

 Canada's gift to the world: Peanut butter 
Say what? Though it's hard to believe, peanut butter--loved by all, banned by schools--is more divisive than Nickelback. Its beginnings date back to early 1900s Montreal, when Marcellus Edison milled roasted peanuts until they were almost liquefied. When the peanuts cooled, a bonanza was born. Today peanut butter is a US$1.8-billion business in the U.S. alone, where the average kid is said to consume 1,500 peanut butter sandwiches before finishing high school. We’re no less ardent north of the 49th: 92 percent of Canadians keep peanut butter in their pantries. Why Canadians should be proud: What's more Canadian than the peanut butter story? We came up with the idea, and then let others take the credit and develop the industry. Of course, it doesn’t help that our climate is too cold for growing peanuts. If we’ve distinguished ourselves, it’s mostly in saving kids from the horrors of anaphylactic shock. Canadian schools are now so vigilant, even spreads that just look like peanut butter are banned.

 Canada's gift to the world: The luggage bag tag 
Say what? When was the last time you flew anywhere without your name on your luggage? Not in the last 83 years, because you can’t. The Warsaw Convention, believe it or not, made it the law . And for that you can ultimately thank John Lyons of Moncton, New Brunswick, who in 1882 came up with the idea of the separable luggage tag. One half went with the bag, the other with you. The technology has evolved from Lyons’ time, but the basic premise – those bags belong to this ticket – remains unchanged. Why Canadians should be proud: Four million people fly every day. God only knows how many more travel by bus, boat, and train. If all these people have nothing else in common, they have this: When they arrive they want their luggage to be there too. And if it isn’t, what’s the one thing they will be waving as they yell?

It was invented in Canada.

Canada's gift to the world: CO2 
Say what? Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas and a driving force behind global warming. Canada emits over half a million tons of carbon dioxide a year, which ranks us 9th worst globally, and 2nd worst in emissions per capita.Only the United States is worse.
Why Canadians should be proud: First, the good news: Canada signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, committing us to an ambitious fight against global warming--a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels.
And the bad news: we’ve come nowhere close to the goals, instead sliding in the other direction. In December, Stephen Harper threw in the towel and pulled Canada out of Kyoto. "Proud" is not exactly the word. Canadians will owe an explanation to their children--and everyone else's..