Time Change: 9 things you didn’t know about DST around the world

Click to play video: 'The history of Daylight Saving Time'
The history of Daylight Saving Time
WATCH ABOVE: Why do we change the clocks? Here's a look at the history of Daylight Saving Time – Oct 24, 2016

By now you probably know the fall time change has happened. The hour rolled back at 2 a.m. Sunday Nov. 6, ending Daylight Saving Time (DST) for 2016.

But there are a few fun facts you likely haven’t heard of when it comes to changing the clock.

It’s a subject people seem to feel very strongly about. Eighty per cent of the thousands who voted in our poll think Daylight Saving Time should be abolished in Canada — even though they get an extra hour of sleep this time around.

DST also appears to confuse a lot of people. Many admitted to us they just don’t understand why we have it. The official reason is that it’s supposed to help us make better use of daylight and consume less energy (though the jury’s still out on whether it actually does that).

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READ MORE: How the end of Daylight Saving Time could affect your schedule, internal clock

The rule of thumb to remember it — aside from “spring forward” and “fall back” — is this: It always begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March (to maximize the warm evenings), and ends on the first Sunday of November (to make cold mornings brighter).

So if you’re the type to plan ahead…

This is when you’ll lose an hour:

  • March 12, 2017
  • March 11, 2018
  • March 10, 2019
  • March 8, 2020
  • March 14, 2021

This is when you’ll gain an hour:

  • Nov. 5, 2017
  • Nov. 4, 2018
  • Nov. 3, 2019
  • Nov. 1, 2020
  • Nov. 7. 2021

Here are nine more DST facts we rounded up:

1. Daylight Saving Time originated in Canada — in what is now Thunder Bay, ON (it used to be Fort William and Port Arthur).

“Essentially, in 1908 and 1909, Fort William and Port Arthur decided to both change their time zone to Eastern Standard time at the beginning of May and then changed their time zone back to Central time at the beginning of November.  It wasn’t referred to as Daylight Saving Time yet,” said Christina Wakefield, an archivist with the City of Thunder Bay.

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“A letter from the Mayor of Port Arthur, Mr. Ray, in 1912 indicates that this changing of the time zones seems to have continued, and is referenced in a British pamphlet [for DST] in 1914…[So] we definitely did a form of Daylight Saving Time in 1908!”

2. This year is technically the 100th anniversary of DST, since Germany was the first country to officially implement it as a war measure in 1916.

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It was introduced as a way to cut costs on coal. England and the U.S. followed suit shortly after.

3. William Willett was a British builder, who made the pamphlet mentioned above. He led the world’s first big DST campaign, only to have it shut down by farmers. He died a year before seeing DST widely implemented.

Willet was also the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin.

Coincidentally, Coldplay has a song called “Daylight” and “Clocks” (which you can listen to below) on its 2002 album ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head.’

4. Egypt had four daylight saving time changes in 2010.

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It was meant to make the month of Ramadan (which fell during a hot summer that year) easier for Muslims.

“They fast during daylight … When that happens in the summer, you have long hours of daylight. So a lot of people in Muslim countries decided – even though it’s the same amount of daylight, people feel better if the sun goes down an hour earlier so they can eat earlier,” explained David Prerau, who wrote two books on DST.

Egypt cut DST completely a year later.

5. Newfoundland, which is half an hour off from the rest of Canada, had a two-hour DST jump in 1988.

The province found doubling up the time change put it too much ahead of the rest of the country, so it didn’t do it again.

6. Russia dropped two of its 11 time zones in 2010, then abolished DST a year later. It’s now one of a few places in the world that stays on summer hours all year. Argentina, Iceland, Russia, Uzbekistan and Belarus also abide by year-round summer hours.

7. Samoa, which introduced DST in 2010, lost the entire day of Dec. 30, 2011 when it switched time zones.

It wanted to be on the same one as some of its closest trading partners like Australia, China and Singapore.

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8. Antarctica doesn’t get any daylight in the winter but still practices DST to be in sync with supply stations in Chile and New Zealand

9. The Queen’s staff spend more than 50 hours adjusting 1,000 clocks across her residences, according to The Telegraph.

You can find out about the history of DST below (and in the video at the top of the page):

Editor’s note: This post was originally published Oct. 28, and updated after the time change on Nov. 6.


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