lealea's blogblog

because it's nice to say it twice


11 Comments // Filed in Business / Etc / Web

Surprise! I’m Canadian!

Well, it might not be a surprise to some of you, but despite the fact that I tweet about my hometown, prominently explain in my about page where I am based, and through several years of interaction online and offline with various colleagues, I often get:

“What? You’re Canadian?”

Baffling, I know, but in some ways, not really. The web is such a universal, borderless space, and as someone with “no accent” it might be hard to place me, or perhaps it’s easier to assume I’m American since a lot of the more prominent web workers come from there. (And, really, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume I’m Californian considering all the friends and family I have living there and the giant Filipino-American population in the Bay Area)

Now it’s nearing Canada Day, I want to take this opportunity to declare how proud I am living in the “Great White North” and I wish more technology companies and individuals were as forthcoming about this fact. Again, the web is a global village, but since the birth of the nation I live in is imminent, I’d like to point out a few companies you may not have known are/were Canadian (and maybe some companies you didn’t even know existed!).

  • Veer – Yes, they have offices elsewhere and their printing is in the States, but their headquarters and starting place is in Calgary, Alberta
  • iStockPhoto – Ditto above (Calgary).
  • StumbleUpon – Started in Calgary by its Canadian founders
  • Bioware – Love Mass Effect? Their main headquarters and starting place is here in my hometown, Edmonton, Alberta. My husband even used to work there. His credits are on Jade Empire.
  • Investopedia – Yes, this massive financial education website (owned by Forbes) is based and is still in Edmonton, Alberta.
  • Seek Your Own Proof – This is a collaborative enterprise from both sides of the border that started here in Edmonton, Alberta by a couple of colleagues of mine. They recently partnered up with Discovery Kids. Exciting times!
  • Shopify – Hosted online stores from Ottawa, ON
  • 1password – My fave password protector is from Aurora, ON
  • FreshBooks Freshbooks handles time tracking and invoicing from Toronto, ON
  • Research In Motion – Your Blackberry was born in Waterloo, ON

Now, that’s just a snippet of some of the sites and companies that work on Canadian soil. Please feel free to add more Canadian web and tech companies to the comments.

Happy (early) Canada Day!


11 blabs to Surprise! I’m Canadian!

Add something to the conversation!

I want to move to Canada.

Tons in Montreal. Stocktrak.com (same field as Investopedia); Interstarinc.com, who provide fax-over-IP server software for the US House of Congress; Akoha, the do-good games company; Radialpoint (nee Zero Knowledge) the security company; the Optimal group, who do everything from self-checkout scanners to toy robots (WowWee); Artificial Mind & Movement, the games studio; CGI / Cognicase; Matrox, the graphics card makers; and tons of web workers / agencies / studios. Happy Canada Day (and a belated bonne St-Jean) everyone!

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Jun 29
01:45 PM

Yeah, Montreal is a big tech hub! And how could I forget Ubisoft, which is based in MTL as well. :)

Heh. Ubi’s French, originally, tho. If I included foreign tech co’s with MTL offices I could go on all day – EA, Eidos, Google, Yahoo… I was thinking more of homegrown companies :)

Picture of Pat J

Name Pat J

Date Jun 29
02:36 PM

If I’m not mistaken, Flickr started off in Canada (Alberta? BC?) before moving to the States and being inhaled by Yahoo.

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Jun 29
02:44 PM

Yep, they started off in Vancouver, BC. Stewart Butterfield, one of the co-founders, is from there.

YAY! Shopify!
Happy early Canadia Day, girl.

Picture of AJ Kandy

Name AJ Kandy

Date Jun 30
12:48 PM

Just also like to say a word for the amazing tech teams at CBC Radio 3 (headed by an old McGill Improv buddy, Steve Pratt) who have a really nice iPhone app, and the NFB here in MTL, who’ve really taken the institution into the 21st century with citizen-driven initiatives, mobile and on-demand online services! Also some more local peeps: Praized, ArtFox and Planio…

I stand corrected- I always assumed my favorite means of procrastination (StumbleUpon) was a bay area brainchild. Hooray for Calgary, it seems!

Thanks for promoting fellow Canadians. I am a proud Canadian and the author of “Don’t Let Your Dream Business Turn Into a Nightmare”, the single most original business book that I have ever written. Actually, some readers also have found it startlingly original.

Just want to demonstrate that Canadians are not too shy to shamelessly self-promote.


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