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Incredible Inventions


Inventor: James Naismith (1861-1939)

Hurray for James Naismith! Born in Almonte, Ontario and educated at McGill University, James later moved to Springfield, Massachusetts. Employed at the YMCA, Naismith was trying to find a way to keep students in shape over the winter. In 1891, he came up with a game that could be played in the gymnasium. Players scored by throwing a large ball into peach baskets hung at a height of ten feet at either end of the gym. James also came up with rules for the game. It was popular right from the start!

Photograph of James Naismith holding a basketball

James Naismith

Photograph of the Edmonton Grads women's basketball team, signed by each of the players

The Edmonton Grads basketball team, Edmonton, Alberta. Left to right: Eleanor Mountifield, Connie Smith, Abbie Scott, Dorothy Johnson, Nellie Perry, Winnie Martin, Elizabeth Elrick, Mary Dunn


Black, Harry. Canadian Scientists and Inventors: Biographies of People Who Made a Difference. Markham, Ont.: Pembroke Publishers, 1997.

Bowers, Vivien. Only in Canada!: from the Colossal to the Kooky. Toronto: Owl Books, 2002.

Hughes, Susan. Canada Invents. Toronto: Owl Books, 2002.

Trottier, Maxine. Canadian Inventors. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 2004.