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The Secret Life of Canada Profile

The Secret Life of Canada

English, History, 6 seasons, 111 episodes, 1 day, 20 hours, 31 minutes
The Secret Life of Canada is a podcast about the country you know and the stories you don't. Join hosts Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson as they reveal the beautiful, terrible and weird histories of this land. Season 4 launches February 3, 2022, with episodes releasing twice a month.
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The Secret Life of Canada returns with Season 6!

Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson are back with a brand new season of conversations about the country you thought you knew. Catch our premiere episode on February 15, 2024 with new episodes biweekly.
1/1/12 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Secret Life of Canada Introduces: Hollywood Exiles

From the BBC World Service and CBC Podcasts comes Hollywood Exiles. Host Oona Chaplin tells the story of the decades-long campaign to root out communism in Hollywood. It’s a campaign that eventually drove her grandfather, Charlie Chaplin, and many others out of tinseltown. Hollywood Exiles is a tale of glamour, duplicity and political intrigue that reverberates to this day. It’s the story of how Tinseltown became an ideological battleground. The toll of the fight was enormous – reputations, careers and families were torn apart by the campaign to drive communists from the movie business. More episodes are available at:
1/1/136 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Secret Life of Canada Introduces: Canadian Time Machine | ‘Humiliation Day’, A Look Back at the Impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act

Explore an important part of the rich history of Chinese-Canadians in this episode of Canadian Time Machine from The Walrus Lab. In the 1880s, Chinese men played a pivotal role in building the Canadian Pacific Railway, enduring challenges for a fraction of the wages. Discover the impact of the head tax and the infamous Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, known as "Humiliation Day." The episode delves into the intergenerational effects and gains insights from Dr. Melissa Lee, CEO of the Chinese Canadian Museum, on the compelling exhibit, "The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act." More episodes are available at: To read the episode transcripts in French and English, and to learn more about historic Canadian milestones, please visit There is also a French counterpart of this show called Voyages Dans L’Histoire Canadienne so if you’re bilingual and want to listen to more, visit
1/1/121 minutes, 21 seconds
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S6: Canadian Comedy

Comedy has been called one of Canada’s biggest exports. But why exactly is that, and why can’t the country seem to keep our funny people at home? In this episode Leah and Falen look at the roots of comedy in Canada and look into why Canadians are so funny wherever they are in the world. And RIP Just For Laughs?For more links and more about this episode visit us at: us on Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok!
1/1/144 minutes, 46 seconds
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Bonus: How to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Day all summer long

Today we have a special bonus episode for you from our sibling show Unreserved, a fearless space for Indigenous voices. Host Rosanna Deerchild is ready to Indigenize your summer with a tastemaker’s guide to the best books, movies, podcasts (with Falen!) and more. More episodes of Unreserved are available at:
1/1/152 minutes
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The Secret Life of Canada Introduces: Stuff The British Stole | Season 3

Throughout its reign, the British Empire stole a lot of stuff. Today the Empire's loot sits in museums, galleries, private collections and burial sites with polite plaques. But its history is often messier than the plaques suggest. In each episode of this global smash hit podcast, Walkley award-winning journalist, author and genetic potluck, Marc Fennell, takes you on the wild, evocative, sometimes funny, often tragic adventure of how these stolen treasures got to where they live today. These objects will ultimately help us see the modern world - and ourselves - in a different light. This is a co-production between the ABC and CBC Canada. More episodes are available at:
42 minutes, 11 seconds
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Porter Primers: How porters created Black neighbourhoods

Where porters went, Black neighbourhoods often followed. Historian Dr. Dorothy Williams breaks down how porters — and the location of railways — catalyzed the creation of historically Black communities and institutions across Canada.
6 minutes, 38 seconds
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Introducing: CBC Podcasts in Class

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.
1 minute, 2 seconds
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Porter Primers: Building a multicultural Canada

Canada’s much-touted multiculturalism was hard-fought-for and started to materialize in the aftermath of immigration policy changes in the 1950s and 60s. A lot of that change is thanks to Black sleeping car porters and their ability to politic with influential passengers on their train routes.
5 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Secret Life of Canada Introduces: Kuper Island

Kuper Island is an 8-part series that tells the stories of four students: three who survived and one who didn’t. They attended one of Canada’s most notorious residential schools – where unsolved deaths, abuse, and lies haunt the community and the survivors to this day. Hosted by Duncan McCue. More episodes are available at
32 minutes, 38 seconds
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Porter Primers: The rise of jazz

In the early 20th century, musicians and audiences flocked to Montreal for its jazz scene, earning the city the nickname “Harlem of the North.” Historian Dr. Dorothy Williams explains how porters were instrumental in introducing jazz to Canada and how they served more generally as “conduits of culture.”
7 minutes, 49 seconds
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Introducing: Unreserved

Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Falen, your host for the current season takes you straight into the Indigenous stories of this land, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing you to the storytellers, culture leaders, and community shakers from First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities across the country. This episode, Mayflower 400: A deep dive into American Thanksgiving explores the merchant ship that was carrying more than 100 people, seeking a new world.
53 minutes, 21 seconds
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Porter Primers: Side hustles

Sleeping car porters were notoriously underpaid and had to fight for tips, condemning most to poverty. Historian Dr. Dorothy Williams describes how porters turned to side hustles and other entrepreneurial pursuits to survive, and to regain the agency they lost as precarious railway employees.
5 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Secret Life of Canada Introduces: The Africas VS. America

In 1985, at the height of the Black Power era, police dropped a bomb in a Philadelphia neighborhood. Their target? A family of Black radicals known as ‘MOVE,’ who found themselves ensnared in a city — and nation’s — domestic war on Black Liberation. Over seven episodes, host Matthew Amha investigates the events that culminated in the MOVE bombing, and the long afterlife of a forgotten American tragedy. More episodes are available at:
53 minutes
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The Secret Life of Canada Introduces: Buffy

Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of the past century. For 60 years her music has quietly reverberated throughout pop culture, and provided a touchstone for Indigenous resistance. In this five-part series, Mohawk and Tuscarora writer Falen Johnson explores how Buffy’s life and legacy is essential to understanding Indigenous resilience. More episodes are available at
36 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Secret Life of Canada Introduces: Podcast Playlist

Podcast Playlist with host Leah-Simone Bowen offers a weekly sampling of new and interesting podcasts from around the world. In this special crossover episode, guest Falen joins Leah to celebrate launching the fourth season of The Secret Life of Canada. And you’ll get to hear what Falen’s been listening to. If you’re a longtime fan you’ll love their conversation about how the show has evolved since its first season. Plus, you’ve heard what Leah listens to — now it’s Falen’s turn to share her top podcast picks. Of course, she’s brought some Canadian history — Edmonton’s history, to be exact. More episodes are available at:
54 minutes, 58 seconds
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Porter Primers: Why were all porters called ‘George’?

Introducing ‘Porter Primers’ — 6 short episodes that shed a little light on Black porter history with the help of historian Dr. Dorothy Williams. For this first episode, Dr. Williams explains why porters were referred to as “George” and how it’s linked to slavery, the Antebellum Period, and a railroad car manufacturer. ‘Porter Primers’ is inspired by ‘The Porter’, a new original series from CBC and BET+ that follows the lives of Black train porters in 1920s Montreal. While the show is fictionalized, it draws on decades of Black porter history — and that history changed Canada as we know it today.
4 minutes, 57 seconds
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Porter Primers: A historic fight to unionize

When the CBRE, Canada’s railway union, was created in 1908, it intentionally shut out Black porters. What ensued was a historic and decades-long struggle for Black railways employees to be heard at the negotiating table.
8 minutes, 53 seconds