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Back-To-School: Smell Brings Canadians Back To The Books

08/16/2013 02:52 EDT | Updated 08/16/2013 09:18 EDT

Sometimes, it takes an eraser to paint a past.

Or the smell of fresh chalk in the morning.

Freshly sharpened pencils, anyone?

Nearly 90 per cent of Canadians recall their school days through scent, according to a new survey.

The study, commissioned by Staples Canada as part of their back-to-school campaign, drew data from 2,500 people.

School's most evocative scent? According to nearly a third of respondents, that would be the cheery odour of chalk.

Erasers ranked second with one in four respondents fondly recalling the stench of semi-burnt rubber on paper. Or desk, if you will.

“Smells can be incredibly powerful, often invoking nostalgia when you least expect it,” says Brian Coupland, the company's director of innovation. “We often get customers tell us they love the smell of our store and part of that is because the smell of school supplies takes us back.”

Some of the weird kids — about 18.8 per cent — agreed that cleaning product smells really brought them back.

The smell of grass also turned out to be somewhat of a gateway memory for about one in ten respondents.

No, not that grass.

Sorry...where were we again...?

Oh yeah — have a look at the nifty infographic here. And, if you've got a real nose for nostalgia, check out BuzzFeed's assembly of things that smell like school spirit.

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