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Globe and Mail - Words Canadians have wrought

Published: 1 Jul 2011

Now that Canada's reached the venerable age of 144, it's time to dispel the notion that our nation only represents the words “snow” and “hockey.”

Now that Canada's reached the venerable age of 144, it's time to dispel the notion that our nation only represents the words “snow” and “hockey.” Truth be told, “snow” predates Confederation by at least the last ice age, and hockey is first mentioned in the Galway (Ireland) Statutes of 1527, nearly a decade before Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence. On the other hand, the quartet of “kerosene,” “cyberspace,” “ACTH” and “optics” (in the PR sense) were all (more or less) Canadian creations. Here are their stories.

ACTH, the acronym for adrenocorticotrophic hormone, is produced by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce steroid hormones. It was first isolated and named in 1933 at McGill University by biochemist James Collip, who was born in Belleville, Ont. Earlier in his career, he had assisted Frederick Banting in the isolation of insulin.

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