The ‘Burnt Toast’ Canadian Heritage Moment

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Our Most Requested Heritage Moment:

Have you ever smelled freshly-ground coffee beans and then found that no one was making coffee? What’s your first reaction? If you’re like most people, it’s ‘I’m having a seizure!’, or ‘I’m having a stroke!’.

Pretty much every single Canadian knows exactly what you’re talking about when you say you smell ‘burnt toast’. It’s become short-hand for ‘I think I’m having a stroke’ in every day conversations with Canadians.

You’re referring to this video about the famous surgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield. He was a famous neurosurgeon who developed a surgical treatment for epilepsy. At the time, no one was really sure why epileptic seizures occurred.

Dr. Penfield was a really, really good guy. As in, the world definitely has less of these types of people, and could certainly use more. He went to Princeton and was voted “best all-round man” (on a side note, wouldn’t it be funny if Princeton kept voting women-in-disguise-as-men this title?).

Even that feels like an old-fashioned title that people don’t value anymore. Instead it’s ‘best athlete’, or the student with the highest grades. Having an award for a balanced life is definitely something that I think we need to reward more often.

By the way, the procedure that is depicted in this commercial is now known as the ‘Montreal method’. You can’t get more Canadian than that!