Time Zone Refresh Part II – Canada

Canada is a country that’s dear to my heart.  There are many great good things about Canada: the Rockies, the friendly people, the liberal attitude, the multicultural, dynamic cities, but its time zones need a bit of a refresh. 

Go here to see my Time Zone Refresh for Mexico.

At the moment, Canada’s provinces have the following time zones:

Yukon Territory: Pacific Time (-8 GMT).  Daylight Savings – yes.

British Columbia: Pacific Time (-8 GMT).  Daylight Savings – yes, except for Fort St. John, Charlie Lake, Taylor and Dawson Creek in northeast BC, and Creston in southeast BC.

Northwest Territories: Mountain Time (-7 GMT).  Daylight Savings – yes.

Alberta: Mountain Time (-7 GMT).  Daylight Savings – yes.

Saskatchewan: Mountain Time. (-7 GMT)  Daylight Savings – no.  Also, the town of Lloydminster is on the border of Saskatchewan and Alberta, so it joins Alberta’s time.

Manitoba: Central Time (-6 GMT).  Daylight Savings – yes.

Nunavut: Nunavut east of 102° West, and all communities in the Kitikmeot Region, follow Mountain Time (-7 GMT).  Central Time (-6 GMT) is followed between 85° West and 102° West, except for western Southampton Island.  Eastern Time (-5 GMT) is followed east of 85° West, and for Southampton Island.  The land east of Iqaluit is on Atlantic Time (-4 GMT), with a few exceptions.  Daylight Savings – yes, except for Southampton Island.

Ontario: Central Time (-6 GMT) is observed west of Thunder Bay, excluding Atikokan, and Eastern Time (-5 GMT) is observed by the rest.  Daylight Savings – yes.

Quebec: Eastern Time (-5 GMT), except for far eastern Côte-Nord and the Magdalen Islands, which are on Atlantic Time (-4 GMT).  Daylight Savings – yes, with a number of municipal exceptions.

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Labrador: Atlantic Time (-4 GMT).  Daylight Savings – yes, except for land east of 63° West. 

Newfoundland: Newfoundland Time (-3.5 GMT).  Daylight Savings – no.

What a mess!  There is a strong possibility I got a few details incorrect, or missed a few exceptions to these time zones.  If you know of any problems, please let me know and I’ll update this post.

Now for the easier part – giving poor ol’ Canada a better set of time zones. 

Yukon: sorry, but you really do need your own time zone.  And since you’re the only decent-sized piece of land within your GMT, let’s call it Yukon Time -9 GMT.

British Columbia and Alberta: you should both be in Pacific Time.  While parts of BC and Alberta are east and west of this time zone, most of the population is within it.

Saskatchewan should be in the Mountain Time zone.  The name doesn’t make much sense, with Saskatchewan being as flat as a pancake.  So lets call it “Plains Time” zone.

Manitoba is difficult to place, as it is halfway between Plains Time and Central Time.  Winnipeg has 60% of the population and is closer to Ontario than Saskatchewan, and Manitoba is already Central Time, so let’s keep it there.  But if they want to switch, or divide their province into two time zones, I have no problem with that.

Ontario should still have two time zones (Central and Eastern), but the boundary should be in a different place – at 82.5° West, in other words from the town of Timmins westward.  This keeps Toronto, the Great Lakes peninsula and Ottawa in the Eastern Time zone, but puts more of hinterland Ontario in the Central Time zone.

Quebec is perfect where it is, in the Eastern Time zone.

The Maritime provinces likewise are perfect in their Atlantic Time zone, except for Newfoundland.  Why it is still half an hour ahead of the rest of the Maritimes I’ll never understand.  I know Newfoundland was still a dominion when the time zones were set up, but let’s rectify that now.  Newfoundland needs to be Atlantic Time, -4 GMT.

The territories of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are impossible to place into any one time zone, as they are so large.  So let’s make it easy and simply apply the four main time zones where they fall, and fit the northeast and northwest corners of these territories into their nearest zone.  West of 112.5° is Pacific Time, between 112.5° and 97.5° is Plains Time, between 97.5° and 82.5° is Central Time, and east of 82.5° is Eastern Time.  After all, the combined population of both territories is less than 75,000, mostly spread out among tiny towns isolated from each other.  It makes sense for each town to have its appropriate time.

And Daylight Savings?  I dislike the notion, but if a province decides to adopt it, they should exercise their power and apply it over the entire province.  All these exceptions are ridiculous.

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