Cover art for podcast The Secret Life of Canada

The Secret Life of Canada

61 EpisodesProduced by CBC PodcastsWebsite

The Secret Life of Canada is a history podcast about the country you know and the stories you don't.

61 Episodes | 2018 - 2021

S1: Shout Out to Irene Uchida

August 27th, 2018


Meet Irene Uchida. A Japanese Canadian scientist, she was one of thousands of Japanese Canadians who were imprisoned as part of the Japanese Internment during WWII. Dr. Uchida went on to become a groundbreaking …

S1: Shout Out to Jackie Shane

August 27th, 2018


Meet Jackie Shane, the singer and trailblazer that came to prominence during Toronto's bustling Yonge Street music scene during the '60s.

S1: The Secret Life of the North

August 27th, 2018


Nunavut has the largest landmass out of all the provinces and territories in Canada - and yet, it is an area that many of us know the least about. In this episode, we look at the forced relocation of the Inuit, the …

S1: Shout Out to Tom Longboat

August 27th, 2018


Meet Tom Longboat, an Onondaga long distance runner born in 1887 on Six Nations. Tom became one of the most celebrated athletes of all time, despite his struggles and encountering racism throughout his career.

S1: The Secret Life of Canadian Snacks

August 27th, 2018


Canada is full of its own weird and wonderful snacks. From Pizza Pops to ketchup chips, we dive into the history of Canadian food.

S1: The Secret Life of Statues

August 27th, 2018


What do you have to do to get a statue in Canada? We put some of our most lauded historical figures on trial and deliberate their pros and cons. Who …

S1: Shout Out to Fred Sasakamoose

August 27th, 2018


Meet Chief Running Deer, Fred Sasakamoose of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, the first Indigenous player in the NHL.

Season One Wrap Up

August 27th, 2018


Season 1 is done, and we're taking some time off to work on season 2!

S2: Bay Blanket

October 1st, 2018


The Bay Blanket. These warm blankets are as iconic as Mariah Carey's lip-syncing, but some people believe they were used to spread smallpox and decimate entire Indigenous communities. We dive into the history of The …

S2: Shout Out to C.D. Hoy

October 15th, 2018


Meet C. D. Hoy of Quesnel, B.C. His work wasn't discovered until 1995 when archivists found his photography. He left behind thousands of pictures that offered a rare look at life during the turn of the century through …

S2: You don't wanna sleep here (Halloween Special)

October 30th, 2018


Is Canada a haunted place? In this bonus Halloween episode Falen and Leah travel to some of Canada's more obscure haunts. From one of Canada's oldest …

S2: Shout Out to Private Buckam Singh

November 6th, 2018


Meet Private Buckam Singh, of one of the first Sikh Canadian soldiers. During WWI he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. In 1916 he …

S2: The Gold Rush

November 27th, 2018


There is no doubt that the Klondike Gold Rush was an iconic event. But what did the mining industry cost the original people of the territory? And …

S2: Toronto vs. Everyone (Live!)

December 4th, 2018


It's our first live show! Recorded in front of an audience for the Hotdocs Podcast Festival, we try to answer the age-old question: why is Toronto …

S2: Your questions answered! (Bonus from Toronto Live show)

December 11th, 2018


Want to know where we get our ideas? Why Toronto was the original no-fun city? Check out the Q&A from our live show at the Hotdocs Podcast Festival in November 2018.

S2: Shout Out to Eleanor Collins

December 18th, 2018


Meet Eleanor Collins - Canada's first lady of jazz and the first Black person in North America to host a nationally broadcast television series, "The …

S2: Shout Out to Madhu Verma

January 8th, 2019


Many Canadians may not have heard of Madhu Verma but her almost fifty years of social activism has greatly shaped the current landscape of Fredericton, N.B. and Canada's East Coast.

S2: Water

January 22nd, 2019


Can the foundation of Canada be traced back to Indigenous trade routes? In this episode Falen and Leah take a trip across the Great Lakes, they talk corn and vampires, and discuss some big concerns currently facing …

S2: Shout Out to John Ware

February 5th, 2019


Meet John Ware, the Black cowboy who helped build Alberta's ranching industry and became a legend for his skill as horseman. Please be advised this episode contains strong language.

S2: The province of Jamaica

February 19th, 2019


This episode we take a look at early Caribbean migration to Canada and reveal which islands could have become Canadian provinces. We also dive into …

S2: Shout Out to Your Grandma

March 8th, 2019


In a special shout out for International Women's Day, The Secret Life of Canada asked listeners to share stories about the matriarchs hidden in their family histories. These women may not have been written about, or …

S2: The Golden Boy

March 26th, 2019


Just how did a Greek god become a beacon for gay men in the Prairies? In this episode, Falen and Leah look into some of earliest known queer spaces in the Prairies, how they came to be and why they were so important. If …

S2: Shout Out to Bernelda Wheeler

April 2nd, 2019


Meet Bernelda Wheeler, the "First Lady of Indigenous Broadcasting in Canada". The broadcaster, journalist, actor and activist inspired a generation of Indigenous journalists.

S2: The Medicine Line

April 25th, 2019


This episode we look at the thing that literally defines Canada - the border. What happened to First Nations when the border was drawn right through their land? And as American "draft dodgers" came north, why did …

S2: Shout Out to Dr. O

May 7th, 2019


Meet Dr. Oronhyatekha, or Burning Cloud as he was known in Mohawk. Oronhyatekha grew up on Six Nations reserve and attended residential school where …

S2: Chinatown

May 28th, 2019


Most major cities across Canada have a Chinatown - but how did they start, and why? This episode, a look at the early history of Chinese people this side of the Pacific, and the historic Chinatown in B.C. that predates …

S2: Shout out to Gay Asians of Toronto

June 4th, 2019


As Pride celebrations kick off across the country, Leah and Falen shout out the Gay Asians of Toronto (GAT). Formed in 1979, this organization is thought to be the first LGBT group for non-white queer people in Canada.

S2: The Indian Act

June 25th, 2019


What is the Indian Act and why Canada still have it on the books? The Secret Life team looks at the roots of this complicated policy, which after 143 …

S2: Shout out to Atuat Akittirq

July 9th, 2019


As Nunavut marks 20 years as a territory, Leah and Falen shout out mother, grandmother, educator, knowledge keeper and award winning artist Atuat Akittirq.

S2: Your Letters

July 23rd, 2019


A mailbag episode! You asked and we answered your burning history questions which took us to the Cowichan sweater, Cheezies, the legacy of Hawaiian Canadians in B.C and one guy named Portuguese Joe.

S2: Shout out to Autumn Peltier

August 6th, 2019


It's our first shout out to a living youth leader! Meet Anishnabe-kwe Autumn Peltier. Greatly influenced by her great aunt Josephine Mandamin, Autumn has been using her voice to advocate for water rights since she was 8 …

S2: The Nanny

August 27th, 2019


Who has been looking after Canada’s kids? We find out that Indigenous women and women from all over the world took on this job, and none of their …

Introducing: CBC Podcasts in Class

September 26th, 2019


Free teaching resources have been developed for select episodes of The Secret Life of Canada! If you — or someone you know — teaches high school …

Season 3 is self-isolating

March 16th, 2020


We’re not trying to mess with a global pandemic, so we'll be back on March 31st. Until then, here's a repeat of our most important episode and something we feel everyone needs right now: snacks.

S3: Crash Course on Friendship Centres

March 30th, 2020


We’re baaack! Leah and Falen switch things up and introduce the Crash Course — snack-size history lessons on a range of topics. First up: the history of Friendship Centres, an essential part of urban Indigenous life …

S3: Sasquatch in the Gift Shop

April 14th, 2020


In the first full episode of Season 3, Leah and Falen explore the truth behind two very old stories. Sasquatch and Ogopogo are legendary creatures of …

S3: Crash Course on "Uncle Tom"

April 21st, 2020


Today we try to figure out the true story of Uncle Tom, with the help of Dr. Cheryl Thompson. You may know “Uncle Tom” as a derogatory term. Or from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 anti-slavery novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. …

S3: Where is Japantown?

May 12th, 2020


Why isn't there a Japantown in every major city across Canada? This episode, we look into early Japanese Canadian history and figure out the “Asiatic Exclusion League” is not what we thought it was. Then, with the help …

S3: Crash Course on Black Nurses

May 27th, 2020


In this Crash Course we look into the surprisingly young history of Black nurses in Canada and why many of these women had to travel to the U.S. for their education. We also take a look at the story of the Black Cross …

S3: What's the deal with blackface?

June 10th, 2020


In this episode we look into the past to try to figure out why some present-day people are still doing blackface — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. We talk to Dr. Cheryl Thompson and look at what a minstrel show …

S3: Crash Course on Dr. James Barry and Victoria’s Transgender archives

June 16th, 2020


How we should think and talk about Trans and Non-Binary people who lived well before those terms existed? In this Crash Course, we explore that …

S3: Kanesatake 300 Years Later (Part 1)

June 24th, 2020


Anniversaries can be a strange thing in Canada, depending on who you are and which side you're watching from. It's been 30 years since an event you may know as the Oka crisis; but that's not where the story begins for …

S3: Crash Course on Superheroes!

July 15th, 2020


From Captain Newfoundland to Shaman and Alpha Flight, what can some of the most iconic Indigenous and Canadian Superheroes tell us about our history? Turns out, quite a lot.

S3: Kanesatake 300 Years Later (Part 2)

August 5th, 2020


On July 11 1990, the so-called Oka Crisis erupted near the small resort town of Oka. The 78 day conflict between the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk Nation) …

S3: Crash Course on L. M. Montgomery (a.k.a. Maud without an E)

August 19th, 2020


Today we look into the life of Lucy Maud (L.M.) Montgomery, creator of iconic characters like Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon. The lesser-known story is that of the writer herself, who had many struggles …

S3: The Mounties Always Get Their Land (Part 1)

September 16th, 2020


The Mountie is one Canada’s most enduring symbols. Found on souvenirs from keychains to dish towels, our national police force are icons to the rest …

S3: Crash Course on British Home Children

October 6th, 2020


Over 100,000 “home children” were sent from the U.K. to Canada to work as labourers, from 1869 through to the 1940s. We find out who they were and what happened once they arrived here. Plus, Alan Dilworth tells us the …

S3: The Mounties Always Get Their Land (Part 2)

November 11th, 2020


In 1919 almost half the working population of Winnipeg walked off the job in the largest strike in Canadian history. The events that followed led to …

S3: Crash Course on Trees

November 25th, 2020


When did the Apple tree arrive in Canada and why do some trees in B.C live over a thousand years? A quick peek into some of the history kept by our …

Introducing: Unreserved

November 28th, 2020


Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Falen, your host for the current season takes you straight into …

S3: You should know The Indian Film Crew

December 16th, 2020


In the late 60s the National Film Board decided it was time that First Nations got to be behind the camera and in charge of how they were seen. …

S3: Crash Course on Canada’s First Mosque

December 29th, 2020


Al Rashid Mosque — the first mosque in Canada — opened in Edmonton in the late 1930s, but getting it built was no small feat. It happened thanks to the determination of a group of Lebanese Muslim women, led by Hilwie …

S3: Project Habakkuk, Jasper’s top secret ice ship

January 13th, 2021


This is the story of how Geoffrey Pyke, a Jewish inventor from the U.K. came up with one of the most mind-boggling plans to win the war. Namely: to build a ship made out of ice. Code name: Habakkuk. Then, what happened …

S3: Crash Course on Mohawk ironworkers

January 27th, 2021


For over a century, Mohawk ironworkers have been shaping our skylines. Leah and Falen look into the contributions these workers have made in Canada …

S3: The Indian Pavilion at Expo 67 (Part 1)

February 16th, 2021


You may have heard of Expo 67 — Canada's biggest flex during its centennial year — but do you know the fascinating history of the Indian Pavilion? It was separate and distinct from the Canada Pavilion, and it was primed …

S3: Crash Course on the "Whiskey War"

March 2nd, 2021


Did you know that Canada and Denmark “battled” over a small, barren island in the far north for decades? Among their weapons: Canadian whiskey and Danish schnapps. In today’s crash course, the strange but true story of …

Back in a bit

March 15th, 2021


A quick update and some historical dating gossip ...

S3: The Indian Pavilion at Expo 67 (Part 2)

April 28th, 2021


When Expo opened its doors on April 28, 1967, it was a gleaming futuristic spectacle; a chance for Canada to prove itself on the world stage. But one irreverent pavilion was set to tell its own side of the story — …

S3: Crash Course on animals — only in Canada

May 4th, 2021


How did an ice age determine what animals and insects are only now found on the land we now call Canada? Leah and Falen go way, way back to find the answers.

See also: "Ours To Save," a special report from the Nature …

S3: Mailbag!

May 12th, 2021


We did it! We made it to our last episode of the season. Today Falen and Leah sort through the mail and answer your questions about treaties and unceded land; tell the story of a woman named Vivian MacMillan; and dive …

Introducing: Telling Our Twisted Histories

May 31st, 2021


Discovery. Reserve. Savage. After centuries of colonization, some words have the power to hurt us deeply and twist our collective history. Host …

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