This Week in History
Father of Standard Time
This story was initially published in 1999
On January 7, 1827, Sir Sanford Fleming was born in Kirkaldy, Scotland. Eighteen years later, he moved to Canada where he designed our first postage stamp, surveyed Canada's first cross-country railway, and became the 'Father of Standard Time'!
Unable to find work as an engineer, Fleming studied to become a surveyor. After passing his exams, he worked on the many railways being built in Ontario. When the government decided to build the Intercolonial Railway, connecting Québec City to Halifax, they asked Fleming to survey the route. Later, he was promoted to chief engineer.
Before finishing the Intercolonial, the government asked Fleming to begin surveying for the Canadian Pacific Railway. With so much left to do on the Intercolonial he declined. The government insisted and placed Fleming in charge of both railways! Eventually these two lines joined, connecting Canada from sea to sea.
The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorates the contributions of Sir Sanford Fleming with a plaque in Ottawa, Ontario.
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