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Time Zones in Canada

Bruce Ricketts

In 1884, the world adopted Standard Time Zones, a development of Canadian, Sir Sanford Fleming.

Time zones were developed to help trains and ships run on time and not crash into each other on track or at sea.  They also help us sleep at night and play all day, instead of the reverse (unless, of course, you are a university student!).

Canada is kind of a linear country.  Many of our provincial border are straight, or close to straight, lines.  So why then do our time zones have such odd shapes?  Why are some provinces split with small parts in different times zones?  And what is with the half hour zone in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador when only Newfoundland has the odd part?

Here is the time zone map of Canada:

Nunavut - three time zones... British Columbia - two time zones... Ontario - two time zones... Quebec - two time zones.  Even the Labrador portion of Newfoundland and Labrador has two time zones!

Saskatchewan looks kind of civilized.  But looks can be deceiving.  Saskatchewan is mostly in the Central Time Zone, along with Manitoba and north western Ontario.  However, Saskatchewan does not observe a time change (back or forward by one hour in the fall and spring) except in the city of Lloydminster which observes Daylight Saving Time but is also in the Mountain Time Zone.

Why is Newfoundland time a half hour different rather than one hour?   The system of Standard Time employs 24 meridians; each are, theoretically. the centres of 24 Standard Time zones.  Apparently, Newfoundland lies in the eastern half of its time zone.  

Why then does not New Brunswick have a half hour zone also because, according to the map, it sits on the western side of the time zone?  And why that little piece of Saskatchewan?

I think I am getting a headache!

 

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