On March 12th most of the world will shift to daylight Savings Time. Summer time as it is called in many European countries. For many of us it’s just a matter of setting our clocks ahead an hour and do a little grumbling over that lost hour of sleep.
Hamilton, Winnipeg and Brandon, Manitoba became the first cities in Canada to experiment with something new called daylight saving time in June 1916. it’s main purpose is to shift an hour of morning daylight, when most of us are sleeping, to the evening hours so we can use it later and save energy too.
It wasn’t an easy time for Hamiltonians as it made doing business both inside and outside the city rather difficult for everyone from the general public to businesses and manufacturers. For example, calling Toronto at 11 am or 4 pm you may not get an answer because Hamilton was an hour ahead. They might be gone for lunch or have closed for the day. Callers from Hamilton trying to reach a business outside the city in the morning because it was just too early. Most businesses did not open for another hour under standard time. Some businesses even hired extra help to compensate for this. It was even more confusing doing business within as all government offices stayed on standard Time. Many businesses got frustrated and went back to Standard time. Daylight savings time was tried again several times throughout the next couple of decades. Canada opted out one year while the U.S. used it. Other years, some would use it and others not. There was no consistency until 1939 when both Canada and the U.S adopted it for good.
Today, most everyone uses daylight Saving Time, but there are still a few, like Saskatchewan, Arizona and Hawaii that do not. Not all countries observe Daylight saving Time due to their location. The daylight hours don’t change much from season to season so there’s no need to turn their clocks forward or backward. Some of you might ask what time it is on the International, Space Station. Well, they don’t observe time changes. They observe a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes as it orbits the earth crossing many time zones and borders so fast it would be confusing. During the Gemini and Apollo programs, time was set to be GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) – 5 to match the time zone at the main command centre in Houston. However, today, controllers in Moscow also need to communicate with astronauts and cosmonauts. The two countries agreed to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is equivalent to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)+0 London as a way to accommodate controllers in both parts of the world.