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?

In 1908, Port Arthur and Fort William (now Thunder Bay) were in the Central Time Zone. A local Port Arthur business man, John Hewitson petitioned the town council to adjust the clocks to Eastern Time in the summer months so the local children and outdoorspeople could enjoy an extra hour of summer sun. Council agreed and the town turned its clocks ahead one hour from June to September. One year later, Fort William followed suit and the two towns “sprung ahead” on May 1, 1910.

That same year the official time zone boundary was shifted 300km west and Port Arthur and Fort William were now officially in the Eastern Time Zone.

Visitors to Thunder Bay in the summer months are amazed at the length of the days—often the sun doesn’t set until near 11pm. These long nights make for perfect summer vacations—the fun continues for hours!

In 1914, Kenora (firmly in the Central Time Zone near the border with Manitoba) 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 town of Atikokan whose residents clocks read in Eastern time throughout the winter and Central time throughout the summer.

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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