What is Daylight Saving time?

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Did you know that Daylight Saving Time (DST) was used for the first time in Canada? It was first used in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada in July, 1908. Germany was the first to implement it countrywide in 1916. They did it to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the their efforts during World War I. It is also a well-known fact that Benjamin Franklin was an early advocate of the DST. Ancient civilizations have been known to have a similar scheme where they would adjust their daily schedules based on the movements of the sun.

What exactly is DST and why do we use it?

What is DST?

Daylight Saving Time is the practice of advancing clocks by an hour in springtime to maximize the use of light in the day. The logic is to start our days an hour earlier to use the available light, thus saving energy. Today, DST is used in more than 70 countries worldwide.

When does DST start and end?

The start and end dates vary, but in Canada (with the exception of certain municipalities), DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. For Manitoba particularly, DST starts 2:00 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST). This is the moment you move clocks forward one hour (which means the time between 2 to 2:59 am on this day does not exist). And on the first Sunday of November, clocks are set back an hour at 2:00 am Central Daylight Time (CDT), in which case the time from 1:00 to 1:59 is repeated. Here is a table for DST schedules for Canada (National Research Council of Canada) for your reference.

Some interesting facts related to DST:

  • No savings? – Many people are still debating DST’s actual impact on energy consumption. A 2006 report from the US Department of Energy anticipated electricity savings of four tenths of a percent per day of extended daylight time, totaling 0.03 per cent of annual electricity consumption. Meanwhile, a study in California found the opposite: DST actually increased electricity consumption by 1 and 4 per cent. In terms of environmental impact, however, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimated the prolonged period of daylight time would cut carbon emissions by 10.8 million tonnes.
  • No to DST -In Canada, majority of Saskatchewan, Southampton Island, regions in Quebec and parts of northeastern British Columbia do not observe DST. Manitoba and Ontario adopted DST in the fall of 2005 mainly for consistent economic and social connection with major trading partner, the United States.
  • Crimes down during DST – Studies by the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration show that crime goes down by 10-13 per cent during periods of DST compared to standard time periods.
  • DST even without daylight – DST is observed in Antarctica, where there is no daylight in the winter and months of 24-hour daylight is experienced in summer. Research stations in Antarctica use DST to synchronize with their supply stations in Chile or New Zealand.
  • Time to change – Many fire departments tell people to change batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks. The start of DST is a convenient reminder.

 
Sources: Springing forward, falling back: the history of time change by CBC News Canada; The history of Daylight Saving Time, Time and date.com; Daylight Saving Time history and fun facts, Acurite.com,; Explained: 12 facts about Daylight Saving Time, Toronto Sun; 8 odd facts about daylight saving time, from the grapevine.com. Updated February 2019.

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