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Five Islands man writes book on Canadian inventions and ideas

Oh Canada! Our Home and Inventive Land
Oh Canada! Our Home and Inventive Land - Contributed


After becoming disabled during a First World War training flight, Walter Harris Callow came up with plans for the first wheelchair-accessible bus.

The Parrsboro man, blind and without use of his arms and legs, was living in Camp Hill Hospital when he suggested such buses be built. He financed the first two Callow Wheelchair Coaches, which were built in Pubnico.

Callow’s story is one of those told in Mark Rector’s book Oh Canada! Our Home and Inventive Land.

“Over the years, I noticed a lot of Canadian connections with things,” said Rector. “People are surprised by a lot of them.

“I thought the book would appeal to people interested in history, but it’s done so well it surprised me.”

Following his presentations, many people, thinking it will make a great gift, have bought several copies of the book.

“It’s easy to read, with short stories about everything from the compound steam engine and gasoline to the invention of the telephone, the light bulb, BlackBerry and Canadarm,” he said.

Rector is a professor of electronics engineering at Humber College, in Ontario, and has written many technical articles, as well as contributed to a text book, but Oh Canada! Our Home and Inventive Land is his first book.

He plans to retire next year, and live full-time at his residence in Five Islands, where he’s been spending summers.

His book can be purchased at several museums across the country including the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry, in Stellarton, the Fundy Geological Museum, in Parrsboro, and the Cumberland Museum and Archives, in Amherst. It's also avail at Coles in Truro and Amherst.

More information is available online at

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