Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 14, 2021, so this is a reminder for readers to set your manually-operated clocks forward by one hour at bedtime tonight. If you rely on a laptop, smartphone or tablet for accurate time, ensure that your setting is on Automatic. It’s worthwhile to double check on them tomorrow morning as some operating systems have encountered bugs in the past.
The origins of Daylight Saving Time
Two people are credited for coming up with the modern Daylight Saving Time: New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson and British builder William Willett. Shown above William Willett and a monument in his memory (photos kentwalksnearlondon and londonremembers) In 1895, Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, proposing a two-hour shift forward in October and a two-hour shift back in March. In 1905, independently from Hudson, British builder William Willett suggested setting the clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on each of the four Sundays in September, a total of eight time switches per year.
Canada was first to spring forward
The municipalities of Port Arthur and Fort William (now Thunder Bay) established Daylight Saving Time in 1908 after being petitioned by local business owner John Hewitson. Both towns observed Central Time and agreed to adjust the clocks to Eastern Time in the summer months and switch back in the fall.
Other locations in Canada followed the example of Port Arthur. Regina in Saskatchewan implemented DST in 1914; Winnipeg and Brandon in Manitoba began it in 1916. Germany and Austria were the first countries to use DST in 1916, and Germany is credited with its global popularity. In 1918, the government of Canada followed the lead of the USA and officially adopted Daylight Savings Time nationwide.
Daylight Saving Time today
There are a number of provinces and municipalities that choose not to observe DST—including the Northwest Ontario towns of Pickle Lake and Atikokan which are both officially in the Central Time Zone but unofficially observe Eastern Standard Time year round.
Daylight Saving Time is now used in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over one billion people every year. The beginning and end dates vary from one country to another.