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Time to change your clocks - but why?

Time to change your clocks - but why?

The Thunder Bay and Northwest Ontario Connection to Daylight Savings Time.

You can blame a man from Thunder Bay for the disruption to your sleep, but thank him for the long summer nights.



As we find ourselves approaching the spring season, we near the time where we "change our clocks" to adjust them for Daylight Savings Time during the summer months. Those long summer nights are awesome. but where did this idea even come from?

While the Canadian government officially introduced Daylight Savings Time in 1918, the towns of Port Arthur and Fort William (now Thunder Bay) had implemented seasonal time shifting a decade earlier. In 1908, a Port Arthur business man, John Hewitson, with the desire to enjoy an extra hour of summer sun, petitioned the councils of both towns, both of which observed Central Time, to adjust the clocks to Eastern Time in the summer months and switch back in the fall. Both towns agreed, and on May 1, 1908 they “sprung ahead”.

In 1910, the official time zone boundary was shifted 300km west and Port Arthur and Fort William were now officially in the Eastern Time Zone. This means that the sun sets a full hour later in Thunder Bay than it does in Toronto.

Visitors to Thunder Bay in the summer months are amazed at the length of the days—often the sun doesn’t set until well after 10pm. These long nights make for perfect summer vacations—the fun continues for hours!

In 1914, Kenora decided it would observe Daylight Savings Time. The neighbouring town of Keewatin chose to remain on standard time. This immediately caused problems: many workers and their children lived in one town and went to work/school in the other. The ferry service was forced to use both times as passengers were who were mostly from Keewatin wanted to ensure that they were on time for weekend activities in Kenora. The experiment only lasted one season.

In 1918, the government of Canada followed the lead of the USA and officially adopted Daylight Savings Time nationwide—however there are a number of provinces and municipalities that choose not to observe the practise—including the Northwest Ontario towns of Pickle Lake and Atikokan which are both officially in the Central Time Zone but unofficially observe Eastern Standard Time year round.

Love it or hate it, Daylight Savings Time helps to make Thunder Bay summers exceptional—visit this year and see for yourself.

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