Canada Day 2013: 15 Things to Thank Canada For On Canada Day

Break out your red and white. July 1 is Canada Day, celebrating the birth of the nation. This year, Canada is celebrating its 146th birthday, and in honor of the occasion here are 15 reasons to say thank you to America's Northern Neighbor. Home to some critical inventions, much-loved athletes, actors and artists, Canada deserves its fair share of praise on the nation's special day.

1. Insulin

Dr. Frederick Banting was an unknown surgeon in Toronto before he was knighted with the Nobel Prize for his discovery of Insulin 1923. Banting took his idea to limit the discretion of pancreatic juices to John Macleod, professor at the University of Toronto. Banting then began experiments with the help of assistant Charles Best in 1921. Before the invention of Insulin, diabetes led to death, but Insulin, one of the greatest medical achievements to date, helps those with diabetes to control their glucose levels. 

2. Ryan Gosling

Besides the obvious eye candy that this A-list actor offers, Ryan Gosling is also an Academy Award nominee who has starred in some acclaimed movies such as The Ides of March, Crazy Stupid Love, Drive, Blue Valentine, Half Nelson, and of course, The Notebook. Born in London, Ontario, Canada Gosling grew up in Canada and found his first introduction to stardom as a member of The Mickey Mouse Club TV series. 

3. Rachel McAdams

If you are a fan of The Notebook, you have plenty of thanks to offer Canada. Rachel McAdams ironically hails from London, Ontario, Canada along with fellow lead, Ryan Gosling. After her starring roles in Mean Girls and The Notebook, McAdams went on to play diverse characters in Red Eye, The Time Traveler's Wife, Sherlock Holmes, Midnight in Paris, and The Vow. 

4. Seth Rogen

If you've ever laughed at a Seth Rogen joke, you owe a little gratitude to his Canadian homeland of Vancouver, British Columbia. Actor, writer, and producer, his genius creations include TV Series Family Guy, and feature films The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, and most recently, This Is The End. 

5. Wayne Gretzky

Arguably one of the most accomplished hockey players in history, Wayne Gretzky was born in Brantford, Ontario. Gretzky "holds or shares 61 NHL records" including those for most career points (1,856), most goals (894), most assists (1,962) and most consecutive 100-or-more point seasons (15). For his 20 seasons playing in the NHL beginning with the Enmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and ending his career with the New York Rangers, Gretzky was inducted into the NHL hall of fame in 1999.

6. Trivial Pursuit

Here's some trivia for you: who invented the popular board game "Trivial Pursuit?" The answer: Two fellow Canadian journalists, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott. According to the New York Times, Hasbro bought the rights to their invention in 2008 for a whopping $80 million. Haney was a high-school drop out who had witnessed his board game sell over 100 million copies in 17 languages for over $1 billion in sales by the time he died at the young age of 59. 

7. Basketball

You might not have known that basketball was invented at Springfield College (previously called the YMCA Training School) by graduate student and physical education teacher, James Naismith in 1891. Naismith invented the indoor sport in order to keep his athletes in shape after football season. Although the rules have changed over time and become more complex, "by-and-large, the game of “basket ball” has not changed drastically since Naismith’s original list of “Thirteen Rules.”

8. Mike Myers

What would life be without the Austin Powers or Shrek series? Certainly not as funny ... and for that, we can tip our hats to Canadian born comedian, Mike Myers. Born in Ontario, Canada, Myers has left a huge legacy on the TV and movie industries. He kept America laughing as an important member of the Saturday Night Live team for six seasons beginning in 1988. 

9. Ice Hockey

The origins of the rules of Ice Hockey are a topic of debate. Some believe the game, as it is now played, emerged in Montreal, Quebec while others argue it was born in Nova Scotia. Regardless, McGill University in Montreal "formed the first organised hockey team" and the official rules were published in 1877 by the Montreal Gazette. While Canada remains one of the hockey powerhouses, the game has spread across the world. 

10. Degrassi

Degrassi, the TV franchise that includes the four series The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and Degrassi: The Next Generation, began in Canada in 1979 and was rebroadcast by Teen Nick. Rapper, Drake, actually began his career playing the role of Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation. 

11. The Twilight Saga

Despite the descriptions in Stephanie Meyer's original books that set the Twilight series in rainy Seattle, Washington, the majority of scenes for the motion pictures were actually filmed throughout Canada. According to the Seattle Times, the scenes for Eclipse were shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. ln fact, fans can travel to Vancouver for daylong tours of the Eclipse and New Moon filming locations. 

12. Peanut Butter

While it's impossible to say exactly where peanut butter emerged first, In it is known that Marcellus Gilmore Edson, a Canadian, patented peanut paste in 1884. According to the Huffington Post, he discovered and patented the paste product after "milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces." Today, the classic lunchbox ingredient is a staple of children's and adult's diets alike. Who doesn't love a good PB&J sandwich? 

13. IMAX

IMAX technology, which revolutionized the movie-watching experience, was invented by the Canadian freelance cinematographer, Graeme Ferguson in 1967. Despite the Canadian-born technology, however, film format invented by Ferguson "did not attract significant attention from Hollywood until the early 2000s when Disney began exhibiting its animation films in IMAX." The next time you sit back in front of the big screen to experience films in life-like quality, think of Canada. 

14. Lululemon Athletica

Many trendy gym-goers and yoga-lovers have fallen in love with Lululemon apparel. Chip Wilson actually founded the the high-quality athletic company in Vancouver, Canada and opened the first retail store in 2000. Since its opening, Lululemon has expanded across Canada and the U.S.

15. Justin Bieber

Canada is (for better or worse) the reason for the Bieber Fever that has been infecting the world since teen superstar Justin Bieber hit the stage. Bieber was born in London, Ontario Canada. The 19-year-old pop star is now one of the most beloved icons across the world.