In the course of looking for background on Canadian Inventions, I came upon a list of the top 50 Canadian Inventions.

I was trolling through this list and suddenly it struck me. I couldn’t identify a single company that had been created and gained worldwide prominence out of the first 15 inventions. Where was the pharmaceutical giant spawned from the development of insulin, the nutraceutical behemoth formed from Pablum? Instead I found a list of fabulous inventions which, for the most part, were opportunities not seized. Certainly Poutine has been a worldwide phenom but have we capitalized on its creation to bring untold wealth back home?

In the top 15 companies there were only two examples of a Canadian company that continues to benefit from the commercialization of a Canadian invention (Cobalt-60 by AECL and the Canadarm by MacDonald Dettwiler, for now anyway). I was very pleased to see that Wonderbra made the list but it was marketed by a Canadian firm for only four years before the company was sold to SaraLee.

To be fair, Bombardier with the Skidoo, and RIM hit the list at numbers 17 and 18 but I was once told to keep lists short and I didn’t have time to keep on researching. Here, then, for your edification and enjoyment are Canada’s top 15 inventions and where they ended up.

 

Survey results are also available here

Please feel free to recommend other commercially successful inventions and we’ll add them to the list

Click here for the CBC’s Top 50 Canadian Inventions

Charles Plant

Charles Plant has been the CEO or CFO of several successful software companies. He’s also been a management consultant, an investment banker, an auditor and an advisor at MaRS. See more…