Sanford Fleming (1827-1915)
When Sanford Fleming emigrated in 1845 from Scotland, he was 18 years
old. The Canadian railway was a total of 16 miles long, and even
the most established centers lacked adequate maps; every outpost,
city, town, and village told time by the rising sun, making travel a scheduling
nightmare. Because, traveling from settlement to settlement was difficult,
the vast wealth of Upper Canada's natural resources was totally unknown.
Sanford Fleming, who, from 1867 until he retired in 1880, was chief engineer
for the dominion government, was regarded as Canada's foremost railway
engineer. By the time he was 70 years old, he had surveyed the country
from Ottawa to Vancouver and helped to build thousands of miles of railway
track. While working for the railway, he created the worldwide system
of Standard Time, in part to ensure that trains, that were criss-crossed
the country, could properly schedule track use and avoid head-on collisions.
Based on Sanford Fleming's ideas, delegates from 27 nations met in Washington,
DC, in 1884 and agreed on a system which is basically the same as
the one which is still in use. Standard Time uses Greenwich, a borough
of London, England as the zero degree meridian, or "Prime Meridian', and
divides the world into 24 zones, from pole to pole. Time is uniform throughout
each zone, and differs from the international basis of legal and scientific
time, called "Coordinated Universal Time" (UTC), by a set number of hours.
In a few regions, however, the legal time kept is not the same as one of
the 24 standard time zones because half-hour or quarter-hour differences
are in effect there.
Canada, for example, is comprised of six zones (from west to east):
Pacific Standard Time, Mountain Standard Time, Central Standard Time, Eastern
Standard Time, Atlantic Standard Time, and Newfoundland Standard Time.
The boundaries of each zone are not strictly defined on the basis of size,
but each zone is approximately 15 degrees apart. Boundaries vary
somewhat to conform to local geographical and political regions.
In addition, if daylight saving time is in effect, one hour less must be
subtracted for locations west of Greenwich and one hour more, added for
areas east of Greenwich.