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150 Little Known Canadian Facts #17

June, 2017


  1. The Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. Its total length is 12.9 km and consists of 3 parts: the East Approach, the West Approach and the Main Bridge. When it was being built, the dredged-up material was purposefully redeposited in non-productive areas of the Northumberland Strait as part of the Lobster Habitat Enhancement Program.


  1. Cosmetic company Lise Watier is Canadian. Lise Watier was one of the first women to break into and be successful in the Canadian cosmetics industry. She began by founding the Lise Watier Institute where the main focus was to help build the self-confidence of Québec women by educating them about beauty, personal well-being and growth. There’s also the Lise Watier Foundation, which is a charity that helps women, especially those in poverty, to empower themselves. In 2016, the company merged with the Groupe Marcelle, Inc., to become the largest Canadian cosmetic company.


  1. There are about two dozen confirmed impact craters in Canada ranging from 3 km to 95 km in diameter. The two largest are in Sudbury, ON, at 140 km in diameter, and in Manicouagan, QB, at 100 km in diameter.


  1. In the early 40s, Dr. Wilfred Bigelow, a Canadian surgeon and hypothermia researcher, found a way to increase the safety of heart surgeries when he discovered that a lower body temperature reduced the body’s oxygen requirements. With the help of Dr. John Callaghan of the Toronto General Hospital, he deliberately lowered the body temperature of a heart patient to do the first open-heart surgery on a human. Without this discovery, open-heart surgery wouldn’t be possible, as surgeons wouldn’t be able to stop the blood flow to see what they were doing without causing serious damage to the patient.


  1. Diamonds weren’t discovered in Canada until the 1990s. The Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territory started operations in 1998 and is Canada’s first diamond mine. The Diavik Mine, 35 km southeast of Ekati, started operations in 2002 and is Canada’s largest diamond mine in terms of carat production. Both mines adhere to this country’s strict environmental standards, which are the world’s most rigorous. The CanadaMark hallmark is a certified diamond of 0.20 carats or larger that has a diamond identification number (DIN) and certificate that allow the purchaser to track the diamond from mine to store in an effort to reduce the availability of conflict diamonds in the marketplace.


  1. In 1973, Vic Mercredi was the first person from the Northwest Territories drafted into the NHL. What was also unique about Mercredi was that he played with a neutral stick (no curve/hook) because he could play left- or right-handed.


  1. The Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) at Last Mountain Lake, SK, is Canada’s first bird reserve, as well as North America’s first bird sanctuary. The sanctuary began June, 1887, with approximately 2500 acres at the north end of the lake. It wasn’t named Last Mountain Lake MBS until 1917 when Canada and the States enacted the Migratory Birds Convention Act—the first countries in the world to sign such an agreement. Now at nearly 12,000 acres, over 300 bird species have been recorded there, of which over 110 species use the sanctuary as a breeding ground.


  1. There are two very small animals that make their homes in this rather large country. The smallest bird in Canada is the Calliope hummingbird, which weighs 2.5 g and is 7 cm long. It lives in central British Columbia and southwestern Alberta. The smallest mammal in North America is the pygmy shrew, which weighs about 12 g and is about 6 cm long. It lives mainly in eastern Canada.


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