Everything you need to know about Daylight Saving Time

Nov 5 2021, 9:21 pm

For most of Canada, it’s almost time to Fall Backward. Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends this weekend, bringing with it an extra hour of sleep.

Despite being observed for over 100 years in Canada, the biannual time change has a hazy history, and support for its abolition has been growing.

Often referred to as “springing forward” and “falling back,” DST is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour in the spring and then moving them back one hour in the fall.

“The general idea is that this allows us all to make better use of natural daylight,” The Old Farmers’ Almanac says.

This year, DST ends on Sunday, November 7 at 2 am. It will begin again on Sunday, March 13 at 2 am.

While farmers are often pointed to as the founding source of DST, the true roots of the practice lie in an attempt to save energy.

According to The Old Farmers’ Almanac, farmers actually opposed the adoption of DST, arguing that it benefitted only urban dwellers and caused them to begin work in darkness.

The earliest known proposal of “saving” daylight can be credited to Benjamin Franklin, who, in 1784, advocated ringing church bells and firing cannons at the crack of dawn in order to save on the expense of candlelight.

Credits have also been given to George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist. Hudson presented the idea in 1895, hoping to have more daylight hours to collect insects.

Englishman William Willet has also been hailed as the father of daylight saving time.

He is said to have concocted the idea in 1907 when he observed that the shutters of houses were closed in the morning despite the sun having risen.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says that the widespread adoption of DST came only after World War I. Countries around the world began to recognize the need to conserve coal, which was used for heating homes.

Germany was the first nation to adopt the practice. England, the United States, and Canada followed suit before the war’s end.

Some towns, including Thunder Bay, Ontario, had already been observing the practice for a decade at the time.

Despite the century-old practice of springing forward and falling back, some parts of Canada are hoping to do away with the time change altogether.

Yukon made DST permanent in 2020. British Columbia and Ontario have both passed bills to do the same, but will only adopt the practice if neighbouring regions follow suit.

In BC, the bill will only take effect if Washington, Oregon, and California agree. Ontario will only move to permanent DST if Quebec and New York State do as well.

Alberta held a referendum on the issue last month, with 50.2% of respondents voting to continue changing the clocks twice a year.

So, at least for now, get ready to change your clocks, Canada.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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