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Sir Sanford Fleming

Sir Sanford Fleming

Sir Sanford Fleming. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, C-001182.

Although Sanford Fleming is primarily known for his Canadian achievements as Chief Engineer for construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), he also worked on the development of Standard Time.

Sanford Fleming as born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland on July 7, 1827 and moved to Canada in 1845. He was a civil engineer and railway surveyor who was appointed to chief engineer for construction of the CPR in 1871. Prior to that, he was chief engineer for the Intercolonial Railway and engineer in charge of surveys for the Northern Railway. He was directly responsible for surveying routes through the Rocky Mountains.

In 1878, he wrote a series of papers for the Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Scientific Knowledge proposing that there be a prime meridian from which all countries would measure time. In 1884, Standard time was adopted and he became known as the “Father” of Standard Time.

He also designed the first Canadian stamp known as the three penny beaver. In 1880, he retired to pursue other activities. Throughout his career, he received many honours, the most notable being knighted in 1897. Sir Sanford Fleming College, named after him, was founded in 1967. Sir Sanford Fleming died July 22, 1915 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Inducted 2001

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