Spring forward and fall back. While majority of Canadians are repeating this phrase to themselves to figure out which direction to turn their clock, the time-saving rules do not apply to a handful of Canadian cities.
Who’s not involved
Province of Saskatchewan
Fort Nelson, B.C.
Peace River Regional District, B.C.
New Osnaburgh, Ont.
Pickle Lake, Ont.
Southampton Island, NT
Quebec’s north shore
Why they don’t observe DST
In 1966, the Province of Saskatchewan commissioned a study by astronomer Earl Milton which reports that Saskatchewan’s location rests on the 105th meridian, meaning it’s effectively positioned between two overextended time zones: Mountain Standard Time (MST) and Central Standard Time (CST). In that same year, the Government of Saskatchewan passed The Time Act, which enforced CST in the summer, but allowed areas in the west to vote on which time zone to follow in the winter.
In recent years, majority of the west voted to observe CST throughout the year.
There are only two exceptions within Saskatchewan: Lloydminster, which straddles the province’s western border and officially follows Mountain Standard Time, and the eastern town of Creighton, which follows Central Standard Time.
As for everyone else? It’s too much of a hassle, so they’ve simply opted out.
Who started DST and why?
Benjamin Franklin is said to be the father of DST, first proposing we turn back time in 1784 as an energy-saving initiative. Other attempts were made by George Hudson in 1895, a New Zealand scientist who collected bugs. His suggestion was rooted in the fact that bug-collecting is easier in the daylight, which makes plenty of sense… in this specific situation. And then there was William Willet, whose suggestion to adjust the time twice a year caught the attention of a British member of Parliament who took it to the House of Commons.
According to Maclean’s, DST was first introduced in World War I as a way to avoid using artificial light, therefore, conserving energy. While Germany and Austria were the first countries to implement DST in 1916, one Canadian town was actually the first to turn their clocks in 1908: Port Arthur, now known as Thunder Bay.
Do we still need DST?
Studies have proven that changing the time can negatively impact your health (e.g. heart attacks, headaches, depression) and if jet lag has ever proven anything, it’s that human don’t fair well when their circadians rhythms are thrown off. In a Globe & Mail article, Lisa Kramer, professor of finance at the University of Toronto, states that “getting up either an hour earlier or an hour later than usual can lead to what psychologists call sleep desynchronosis,” which can lead to increased risk of car accidents.
Whether you’re for or against DST can depend on where you are in the world. Generally speaking, the further away you are from the equator, the more the seasons fluctuate. Earth’s tilted axis means that the top and bottom receive more or less sunlight depending on the time of year. That would explain why peering out the window at 3 p.m. in the dead of winter looks like 9 p.m. during the summer.
It’s true what they say: You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Daylight, that is. That’s why some folks made their case to adjust time for more sunshine. As bleary-eyed as we are about losing an hour of sleep, it’s all for the sake of spending less time in the dark.