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10 surprising facts about Canadian industry


Posted by in Energy on Monday, December 8, 2014



Oil pump jack in Alberta's morning mist. (Photo: Robert Burkholder)

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing a selection of my favourite stats and feats from my new book Canadian Geographic Biggest and Best of Canada: 1000 Facts & Figures (in stores now!). If you enjoy trivia, particularly Canadian trivia, or have a particular fascination with Canadian facts and accomplishments, you’ll surely enjoy my book. In the hopes of further capturing your interest, I’ve been sharing a top-10 selection of items from each category that particularly stood out for me. This week: business/industry.

1. The Hudson’s Bay Company, founded in 1670, is North America’s oldest continuously operating company. In its earliest days, the business was instrumental in European development in the country, particularly its eastern half, where numerous outposts were set up to trade goods. Today, HBC runs the country’s largest department store, with 90 locations across the nation.

2. The world’s richest vein of silver was found in Cobalt, Ontario in 1903. In the following 60 years, silver mines in the area produced a total of almost 1.2 million tonnes of silver ore and concentrates, and the total production over that time was more than 11,921 million g of silver. The silver rush ended somewhat abruptly in the mid-20th century, and the town turned its mining attention to the mineral it was named after. Thanks to improved technology, cobalt had become more useful.

3. Oil! The first oil company in North America was founded in the aptly named community of Oil Springs, Ontario, southeast of Sarnia. On December 18, 1854, Charles Tripp received approval for his commercial oil company.

4. The Hibernia oil platform, located in the waters of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, is believed to be the largest object ever towed. It took 13 days — from May 23 to June 5, 1997 — to tow the 1.08 million tonne structure from Bull Arm, Newfoundland, to the Grand Banks.

5. Need salt for that? Then head to Goderich, Ontario, home of the world’s largest salt mine. Owned by Sifto Canada, 6,577,089 tonnes of salt are mined from the site every year.

6. If you like your mustard, thank Saskatchewan. The prairie province is the world’s largest mustard exporter. In 2013, the province produced 117,000 tonnes of mustard in three different types — yellow, brown and oriental.

7. Get out the ketchup. And lots of it. McCain Foods, whose global headquarters is located in Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, is the world’s largest manufacturer of French fries. Indeed, one of every three French fries eaten on Earth is a McCain fry.

8. Canada is home to the oldest brewery in North America. Molson was established in Montreal in 1786 by John Molson.

9. The first tidal power plant in the Americas, and the only one in North America, was built near Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, in 1984. The Annapolis Tidal Station has a capacity of 20 megawatts, and depending on the tides, a daily output of roughly 80 to 100 megawatt hours. It boasts the world’s largest straight-flow turbine generator, capable of producing more than 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power some 4,500 homes.

10. Toronto’s Eaton Chelsea is the country’s largest hotel. It boasts 1,590 guestrooms and more than 2,200 square m of meeting and event space, including two ballrooms. The hotel also has four dining options.




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