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Article

Glass

The first known Canadian glass factory or glasshouse, the Mallorytown Glass Works in Upper Canada, began operation in 1839 and closed in 1840. Glassmaking involved a large investment in raw materials, equipment and salaries.

Article

Patent

The patent system rewards inventors who disclose their invention to the public. The reward is the creation of a monopoly period during which the inventor has the exclusive right to practice the invention.

Article

Nortel

Nortel Networks Corporation, or simply Nortel, was a public telecommunications and data networking equipment manufacturer. Founded in 1895 as the Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company, it was one of Canada’s oldest technology companies. Nortel expanded rapidly during the dot-com boom (1997–2001), purchasing many Internet technology companies in a drive to remain competitive in the expanding information technology (IT) market. At its height in 2000, the company represented over 35 per cent of the value of Toronto’s TSE 300 index. It was the ninth most valuable corporation in the world and employed about 94,000 people worldwide at its peak. But Nortel soon entered an extended and painful period of corporate downsizing, and in 2009, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in the largest corporate failure in Canadian history. Shareholders, employees and pensioners suffered losses as a result. Company executives, however, were paid a total US$190 million in retention bonuses between 2009 and 2016. Nortel sold off its assets for a total US$7.3 billion. Those assets were scheduled to be distributed to Nortel’s bondholders, suppliers and former employees in 2017.

Article

Recorded sound production

The first recordings made in Canada were those made 17 May 1878 by the Governor-General, Lord Dufferin, and his guests at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. On 17 May 1878 Lady Dufferin wrote in her diary (My Canadian Journal 1872-1878, Toronto 1969, p 292): 'This morning we had an exhibition of the phonograph.

Article

Ice Resurfacers (Including Zamboni Machines)

Zamboni ice resurfacers are used in arenas across Canada and around the world. Although Zamboni is a registered trademark, many Canadians use the term to refer to all ice resurfacers, including those produced by other companies. American Frank J. Zamboni invented the original Zamboni ice resurfacer in 1949. His namesake company is based in Paramount, California, but also has a large manufacturing facility in Brantford, Ontario. The Zamboni Company’s major competitor, Resurfice Corporation (based in Elmira, Ontario), produces the Olympia line of ice resurfacers that are used in arenas across Canada and around the world. In 2016, ICETECH Machines began producing the Okay Elektra, an electronic ice resurfacer, in Terrebonne, Québec.

Article

Natural Gas in Canada

Natural gas ranks among the fastest-growing energy sources in Canada and is seen by many in the energy industry as a game-changer, a comparatively clean, low-cost and versatile fuel. It can directly generate power and heat and can be chemically altered to produce a wide range of useful commodity chemicals. It burns cleaner and more efficiently than other fossil fuels, releasing significantly fewer harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Natural gas is colorless, odourless, shapeless, lighter than air and contains a mixture of several hydrocarbon gases, which are organic compounds consisting of some combination of hydrogen and carbon molecules.

The primary consumers of natural gas are the industrial (54.1 per cent), residential (26.6 per cent) and commercial sectors (19.3 per cent). Canada is the fifth largest natural gas producer after the United States, Russia, Iran and Qatar. Currently, all of Canada’s natural gas exports go to the United States through a network of pipelines, making Canada the largest foreign source of US natural gas imports. At the end of 2016, Canada had 76.7 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves and had produced 152 billion cubic metres of natural gas that year. It is forecasted that global natural gas consumption will double by 2035.

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Computers and Canadian Society

Canadians use computers in many aspects of their daily lives. Eighty-four per cent of Canadian families have a computer in the home, and many people rely on these devices for work and education. Nearly everyone under the age of 45 uses a computer every day, including mobile phones that are as capable as a laptop or tablet computer. With the widespread use of networked computers facilitated by the Internet, Canadians can purchase products, do their banking, make reservations, share and consume media, communicate and perform many other tasks online. Advancements in computer technologies such as cloud computing, social media, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are having a significant impact on Canadian society. While these and other uses of computers offer many benefits, they also present societal challenges related to Internet connectivity, the digital divide, privacy and crime.

Macleans

Canadarm2's Broken Wrist

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on May 27, 2002. Partner content is not updated.

It was a bad day at the aerospace office. Around 9 a.m. on March 5, NASA called Richard Rembala, a lead engineer for CANADARM2. There was a problem.

Article

IMAX Systems Corporation

IMAX emerged from the Expo 67 cultural context. Corporation co- founders Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor and Robert Kerr all participated in some of the popular large- and multiple-screen film experiments that were part of the Montréal Expo.

Article

Laser

Laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), device used to generate high-intensity light.

Article

Rotary Snowplough

The first rail ploughs, in the mid-1800s, were made of steel and fitted to the front of locomotives like cowcatchers. They worked against light snowfalls, but were ineffective in the face of blizzards, drifting snow and avalanches.

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Woodward and Evans Light Bulb

In 1874, Canadians Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans patented a design for an incandescent light bulb. Their invention preceded that of American Thomas Edison by several years. In fact, the second patent (issued in 1876 in the United States) was among those that Edison bought as he refined the technology to create a longer-lasting bulb. Woodward and Evans’s early work on the light bulb in Toronto has gone largely unrecognized. It was nevertheless an important development in the invention of electric lighting.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

Article

Canadian Astronauts

An astronaut is an individual involved in flight beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the Canadian Space Agency held its first recruitment campaign in 1983, 14 Canadians have completed astronaut training and nine have participated in 17 missions to space. Specifically, they have flown as payload specialists, mission specialists, and flight engineers on NASA shuttle flights and expeditions to the International Space Station (ISS). Canadian astronauts have played key roles in repairing satellites and building the ISS using the Canadarm and Canadarm2 robotic technologies, and have advanced scientific knowledge by conducting a variety of experiments in space.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Canada

The term artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the capacity of a machine to simulate or exceed intelligent human activity or behaviour. It also denotes the subfield of computer science and engineering committed to the study of AI technologies. With recent advancements in digital technology, scientists have begun to create systems modelled on the workings of the human mind. Canadian researchers have played an important role in the development of AI. Now a global leader in the field, Canada, like other nations worldwide, faces important societal questions and challenges related to these potentially powerful technologies.

Article

Travois

A travois, from the French word travail, “to work,” was a device used for transportation by the Plains Indigenous peoples. Drawn by horses or dogs, the travois carried people’s goods to and from hunting sites and temporary settlements.