Thanksgiving Day in Canada is October 8, 2018, a time to give thanks for the harvest season, for family and friends, and for the people and things that make our lives better. As you add up all the things you are thankful for, take a few minutes to think of electricity. Count the electrical devices, conveniences and necessities in your home and try to imagine life without them.

It is a relatively short journey back to a time when electricity was unknown. In the early days of electrical discovery, average citizens gained no benefit whatever from the initial scientific strides made by Michael Faraday and his contemporaries. It took many years and many inventors before the real potential of electricity was realized. Consider these milestones:

  • 1821- First electric motor is invented by Michael Faraday.
  • 1846- First Canadian telegram sent between Toronto and Hamilton.
  • 1881- Hydroelectric power becomes the first form of commercial electricity in Canada.
  • 1892- Thomas Ahearn, a Canadian, assembles the first electric oven.
  • 1883- The electric transformer is invented.
  • 1893- The first electric car is driven in Canada. They stay around until 1930.
  • 1887- Electricity lights up the Canadian Parliament buildings.
  • 1887- Ten streetlights are installed in downtown Calgary.
  • 1891- A new coal fired generation plant brings electricity to Edmonton.
  • 1903- World’s largest generator (5000 Watts) begins operation in Quebec.
  • 1903- The electric vacuum cleaner and electric washing machine are invented.
  • 1932- The trans-Canada phone system is inaugurated.
  • 1947- Six Rural Electrification Associations are incorporated in Alberta, bringing electricity to Alberta farms. In following years, the number swells to 416.
  • 1954- The first practical solar panel is invented.
  • 1961- Atomic Energy of Canada Limited begins construction on CANDU reactors in Eastern Canada.
  • 1961- 87% of rural Alberta has access to electricity.
  • 1993- First commercial wind farm in Canada is built in Alberta.
  • 2008- The Tesla Roadster, a modern version of the electric car, becomes available to American drivers.
  • 2018- New provincial record for power consumption set in Alberta on January 11, at 11,697 MW.

Each milestone is a reminder of the human ingenuity, creativity and hard work involved in developing the electrical system we have today and the benefits we gain from that system. As we take time on October 8 to give thanks for family, friends, food and shelter, spare a thought for the benefits of electricity.