9 popular American pastimes that are actually Canadian

There are some trends that North Americans follow are actually Canadian.

There are some trends that North Americans follow are actually Canadian.
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
  • There are a lot of popular Canadian inventions and traditions that have become incredibly popular throughout America.
  • Thanksgiving might have been a Canadian creation.
  • The creation of peanut butter is partially credited to a Canadian inventor.
  • Trivial Pursuit was invented in Canada.
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A number of Canadian inventions and practices over the years have been swept under the rug by the mainstream, or mistakenly attributed to other countries. As it turns out, some of our most stereotypically American pastimes – from holidays to sports to delicious foods – have been made possible or launched by individuals from Canada.

In that vein, we have rounded up some of the most surprising Canadian inventions or traditions that have become irrevocably ingrained in North American culture.

Thanksgiving might have been a Canadian creation.

But Canada did adapt their modern-day version around American practices.
tuchodi / Flickr

There is little more quintessentially American than breaking bread and giving thanks over the white-washed perspective of history. Still, it may be even more controversial to suggest that Canadians did Thanksgiving first.

There is solid evidence that this is the case, however, as English explorer Martin Frobisher held the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America in Newfoundland. It was a means of giving thanks for their safe return from the exploration of the Northwest Passage all the way back in 1578.

Canada did develop their modern-day national holiday around American practices, however, so debate accordingly.

Daylight Saving Time wasn’t picked up by Americans for years.

America began following the practice eight years later.
Brian Snyder/Reuters

Although a New Zealand bug collector was the first to propose a Daylight Saving Time, the practice was supposedly first adapted in Ontario, Canada, in 1908. Germany and Austria-Hungary did not implement DST nation-wide until eight years later in 1916 and America followed much later.

Hawaiian pizza isn’t actually from Hawaii.

It’s a Canadian invention.
Domino’s Pizza/Facebook

Although a food as divisive and outright bizarre as Hawaiian pizza might seem distinctly American, it is actually a Canadian invention.

The late Sam Panopoulos moved from Greece to Canada when he was 20 years old, and he put pineapple on pizza in 1962 in one of his Ontario restaurants.

“We just put it on, just for the fun of it, to see how it was going to taste,” he told BBC in an interview. And the world was never the same.

Canada celebrated Labor Day before America did.

It took America a decade to follow suit.
Getty Images

Today, Labor Day in the US is an excuse to go up north for the weekend or relish in an extra day off work – but the holiday has a rich, difficult history in both North America and Canada.

Canada had its first Labor Day event in 1872, though America didn’t celebrate the hard-earned day off until a decade later.

Basketball was founded by a Canadian.

It’s not as American as you think.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

For many hardcore fans, basketball feels as American as apple pie and hot dogs – but the sport was actually founded by a Canadian.

James Naismith invented the game in 1891 and at least 10 of the university students who participated in the inaugural game were from Quebec.

The NBA’s first game was also played in Canada.

Santa Claus is Canadian, according to Canada.

He even writes letters.
Hasloo Group Production Studio/Shutterstock

That’s right, Santa is Canadian – at least if you ask the Canadian government. In fact, according to HuffPost, the Canada Post will respond to every child who writes a letter to Santa Claus.

Still, even Santa has his doubts.

Trivial Pursuit was invented in Canada.

It’s still popular in the US.
Dees Chinniah/Flickr

The popular trivia game was invented in 1979 by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott and it launched in 1981. Now, decades years later, the game remains a popular American (and, of course, Canadian) pastime.

We have Canada to thank for IMAX movies.

If you’ve gone to a mainstream theater in the past decade, chances are you’ve benefited from this Canadian invention. IMAX developed as a Multi-Screen Corporation in 1967 and has ballooned into over 1,000 theaters in 66 countries.

The creation of peanut butter is partially credited to a Canadian inventor.

It got its start in Canada.
Photo-Dave/ iStock

The delicious, sticky spread is in part credited to a Canadian inventor. In 1884, Marcellus Gilmore Edson patented peanut paste (say that five times fast), the finished product from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces. And for that, we will be eternally grateful.