The Secret Life of Canada

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

Introducing: CBC Podcasts in Class
Sep 26, 2019 • 1 min
Free teaching resources have been developed for select episodes of The Secret Life of Canada! If you — or someone you know — teaches high school history, geography, civics or Indigenous Studies, visit to learn more.
S2: The Nanny
Aug 27, 2019 • 41 min
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 stories follow the plot line to Sound of Music. From Confederation to present day, has anything changed for…
S2: Shout out to Autumn Peltier
Aug 6, 2019 • 4 min
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 years old. Today, we learn a little…
S2: Your Letters
Jul 23, 2019 • 29 min
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 Atuat Akittirq
Jul 9, 2019 • 3 min
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: The Indian Act
Jun 25, 2019 • 44 min
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 years is still embedded in Canadian identity, from the policy that led to the Act to how it still impacts…
S2: Shout out to Gay Asians of Toronto
Jun 4, 2019 • 4 min
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: Chinatown
May 28, 2019 • 28 min
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 Confederation. (Hint: it’s not in…
S2: Shout Out to Dr. O
May 7, 2019 • 3 min
Meet Dr. Oronhyatekha, or Burning Cloud as he was known in Mohawk. Oronhyatekha grew up on Six Nations reserve and attended residential school where he trained to be a cobbler - but life had bigger plans. Hear how he became one of the first Indigenous…
S2: The Medicine Line
Apr 25, 2019 • 40 min
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 thousands of Canadians volunteer to fight…
S2: Shout Out to Bernelda Wheeler
Apr 2, 2019 • 3 min
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 Golden Boy
Mar 26, 2019 • 46 min
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 you don’t think of Winnipeg as a…
S2: Shout Out to Your Grandma
Mar 8, 2019 • 13 min
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 have won awards, or have achieved…
S2: The province of Jamaica
Feb 19, 2019 • 50 min
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 the history of Black railway porters and how they and their wives made Winnipeg a hub of labour activism in…
S2: Shout Out to John Ware
Feb 5, 2019 • 5 min
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: Water
Jan 22, 2019 • 50 min
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 Canada’s water.
S2: Shout Out to Madhu Verma
Jan 8, 2019 • 3 min
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: Shout Out to Eleanor Collins
Dec 18, 2018 • 4 min
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 Eleanor Show” which began in 1954.
S2: Your questions answered! (Bonus from Toronto Live show)
Dec 11, 2018 • 9 min
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: Toronto vs. Everyone (Live!)
Dec 4, 2018 • 45 min
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 the city Canada loves to hate? Featuring special guests Jane Luk, Kris Siddiqi, Brandon Hackett and music by…
S2: The Gold Rush
Nov 27, 2018 • 33 min
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 what was left when all the gold was gone? And what is a sour toe cocktail?
S2: Shout Out to Private Buckam Singh
Nov 6, 2018 • 3 min
Meet Private Buckam Singh, of one of the first Sikh Canadian soldiers. During WWI he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces. In 1916 he served with the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion in the battlefields of Flanders. His resting place in…
S2: You don’t wanna sleep here (Halloween Special)
Oct 30, 2018 • 31 min
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 universities to a former asylum in Quebec to a number of haunted theatres across the country. Leah and…
S2: Shout Out to C.D. Hoy
Oct 15, 2018 • 3 min
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 the eyes of the marginalized.
S2: Bay Blanket
Oct 1, 2018 • 37 min
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 Hudson’s Bay Company and unpack the…
Season One Wrap Up
Aug 27, 2018 • 1 min
Season 1 is done, and we’re taking some time off to work on season 2!
S1: Shout Out to Fred Sasakamoose
Aug 27, 2018 • 3 min
Meet Chief Running Deer, Fred Sasakamoose of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, the first Indigenous player in the NHL.
S1: The Secret Life of Statues
Aug 27, 2018 • 26 min
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 should be torn down and who should stay up? From the Famous Five to Terry Fox, we look at some of the best…
S1: Shout Out to Irene Uchida
Aug 27, 2018 • 3 min
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 WW1. Dr. Uchida went on to become a groundbreaking geneticist, transforming maternal and fetal…
S1: The Secret Life of Canadian Snacks
Aug 27, 2018 • 21 min
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: Shout Out to Tom Longboat
Aug 27, 2018 • 2 min
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 the North
Aug 27, 2018 • 35 min
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 Eskimo Identification System, and the…
S1: Shout Out to Jackie Shane
Aug 27, 2018 • 4 min
Meet Jackie Shane, the singer and trailblazer that came to prominence during Toronto’s bustling Yonge Street music scene during the ’60s.