Saturday, 22 April 2017

S is for Snowmobiles, Snowblowers and Superman

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, my theme for the 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge, is CANADA. 

Join me throughout April (every day except Sundays) to learn more about the inventions, the people, and the cultures that make up one of the greatest countries in the world!


Snowmobiles, Snowblowers and…Superman! 


Even if you haven’t known me for long, I bet you know I love Superman. Not only is it my nickname—thanks to my super-fast speed on the track and field team—but it’s also my favourite comic book character. I’ve dressed up as Superman for Halloween, and watched all of the movies. Superman is the BEST!

He was also invented by a Canadian. Back in the 1940s, a 17-year-old cartoonist by the name of Joe Shuster (another S!) came up with the idea for a “strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.”

Who knew that the hero sworn to defend “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” was actually from Canada? Told you my “S” post would throw you a curve. <grin>

Superman isn’t the only great “S” invention either (though admittedly, it’s pretty amazing.) You already know I love to go FAST, so of course, I love that a Canadian invented the snowmobile

The inventor’s name was Joseph-Armand Bombardier, and while his mechanical skills allowed him to build MANY things, he is best known for his invention of the snowmobile

The first snowmobile was steered by skis and could hold two or three passengers. His design has been streamlined over the years of course, and in Canada—where the snow flies for several months—snowmobiling is a favourite past time. 

Unfortunately, all that snow also means hard work removing it. I’m not a fan of shoveling, and I guess I’m not alone. Because in 1925, Canadian inventor Arthur Sicard invented the first snowblower. Thank goodness!

Mom usually makes me shovel the walks, but when I go to Grandpa’s house, I sometimes get to use his snowblower—a much more advanced version than the one Arthur Sicard built, obviously—to clear out the driveway. It’s FUN!

Well, that rounds out the third week of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I hope you’ve learned a lot about Canada and some of its great inventors and inventions. I’ll be back Monday morning with a couple of neat “T” inventions—one you may be very surprised to learn about!

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 21 April 2017

R is for the Robertson Screw and Screwdriver 

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, my theme for the 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge, is CANADA. 

Join me throughout April (every day except Sundays) to learn more about the inventions, the people, and the cultures that make up one of the greatest countries in the world!


An Invention That Has Stood the Test of Time


A few years ago, after meeting Kevin Therres, a race car driver and the inventor of the only Jet Engine Funny Car to run on 100% canola biodiesel, my grandpa and I built a soap box car from scratch. You can read all about it in the Superman Duffy graphic novel, GOTTA JET!

We used a lot of tools that day, including the Robertson screwdriver. Which, as you’ve probably guessed, is a Canadian invention.

After badly cutting his hand using a slot-headed screwdriver, Peter Limburner Robertson—an Ontario resident—invented the square-headed screw and screwdriver. 

With his new 1908 design, a person could drive a screw more quickly, and because the screw was self-centering, only one hand was needed. Plus, the driver fit more tightly in the screw’s head, reducing the chance of the screwdriver  slipping out and injuring anyone.

Robertson’s invention was a big hit! Not only was it safer, the screwdriver sped up production. 

Robertson was clearly on to a good thing, because his design has stood the test of time. After all these years, no one has been able to improve on it. 

Gotta jet! Check back with me tomorrow as I round off week three of the A to Z Blogging Challenge with an “S” post bound to throw you a few curves. 

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Still following the Superman Duffy tour? Check out my Instagram and Twitter posts to see where the author and the illustrator will be travelling to next! Today they’re at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Sherwood Park. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Q is for Quebec

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, my theme for the 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge, is CANADA. 

Join me throughout April (every day except Sundays) to learn more about the inventions, the people, and the cultures that make up one of the greatest countries in the world!


Quebec: Not a Canadian invention, but definitely Canadian!


Okay, I know, the province of Quebec isn’t a Canadian INVENTION, but honestly, I used every research tool I could think of (including Google, calling my grandpa, and asking my teachers) but I couldn’t come up with a Canadian invention or inventor that started with the letter “Q.” 

I did discover that there are 45 places in Canada whose name starts with ``Q``. And, that Canada boasts two heavy metal bands with names that start with Q—Quartered and Quo Vadis. But…

Yesterday, I talked about poutine, which is a distinctly Canadian dish that comes from Quebec—but actually, Quebec is just as famous for another Canadian favourite: maple syrup. In fact, about 80% of the world’s supply of maple syrup is produced in Quebec. Pretty sweet, huh?

Plus, it’s the home of birch syrup, a far less talked about sweetener, which has a subtle earthy, smoky, sponge toffee taste. It’s way more expensive than maple syrup too, though I’ve never tried it. Sounds like something I should get my hands on…for research purposes, of course.

Quebec is also on one of my Top Five places to visit—I’ve only travelled through western Canada. Everyone talks about how beautiful Quebec is… Have you ever been? What was the most enjoyable about it for you?

I admit, my “Q” post is a bit of a cheat, but if you can think of something I forgot, add it in the comments, and you could WIN a whole set of the Superman Duffy graphic novels. 

Hope you’re having a great week. See you tomorrow for a great “R” post!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. Speaking of Quebec…many of the people there speak French. Did you know that some of the Superman Duffy books are now available in French? Contact the Alberta Canola Producers Commission to learn more!