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Canadian ideas at work

Conviction, tenacity and determination are traits that have long been associated with Canada. We’re a nation that can make the impossible possible. That same sense of conviction, that built our country helped unlock the oil sands – one of Canada’s great natural resources – when no one thought it was possible.

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Because the oil in the oil sands is thick and embedded in sand, it doesn't flow. And most of it is deep under the ground – as deep as 450 metres underground. But that didn’t stop Canadians from finding a way to get it out of the ground. The invention of steam-assisted gravity drainage or SAGD technology made that possible, and we’re proud of our part in pioneering the technology. Our Foster Creek oil sands project has the distinction of being the first commercial SAGD operation.

Working to improve

SAGD isn’t a single solution – it’s a complex technology that will keep improving as innovative advancements are made. One of our ongoing objectives is to advance technologies that increase oil production using the smallest amount of water, natural gas, electricity and land.

Historic examples of Canadian courage, tenacity and determination

Read on to find out more about these examples of Canadian ideas at work shown in our TV commercial.

Combine, horse and plow

Canada's agriculture industry has come a long way from the days when the horse and plow and manual wheat thrashers were used to grow and harvest crops. Today, through Canadian persistence and the introduction of equipment such as the combine, Canada has become a top exporter of wheat. For more information, visit the Canadian Encyclopedia website.

Last Spike (1885)

The Last Spike signifies the completion of the transcontinental railway, an innovation in transportation that has helped to bring Canada together, connecting it coast to coast. For information on the Last Spike, visit the CPR Set-off Siding.

Snowblower (1925)

The snowblower, invented by Canadian Arthur Sicard, made it a lot easier for Canadians to work under adverse weather conditions. Gone were the days when the only way to dig out of the snow was with a shovel. Clearing an abundance of snow was made easier because of this Canadian innovation. For more information, visit About.com/inventors.

CN Tower (1975)

The CN Tower was the world's tallest completed freestanding structure on land, until it was surpassed in 2007 by Burj Khalifa, a skyscraper in Dubai. Built by the Canadian National Railway and completed in 1975, the CN Tower took over 40 months to build and involved the hard work of more than 1,500 construction workers. Canadian determination made the completion of one of Canada's most recognized symbols possible. For more information, visit the Toronto Place website.

Canadarm (1981)

Canadarm is a robotic device used like a human arm in space to perform procedures such as repairing satellites. It's Canada's most famous robotic and technological achievement and established our reputation in the field of robotics. First used by NASA in 1981, it has inspired generations of Canadian engineers and scientists to develop new technologies. For more information, visit the Canadiana Connection website.