Sir Sandford Fleming

Sandford Fleming was born at Kirkcaldy, Scotland in January 7, 1827.
Sandford died at Halifax in July 22, 1915. He was a civil engine er. He
was Canada\'s foremost railway surveyor and construction engine er of the
19th century and a distinguished inventor and scientist.

He came to Canada in 1845 and , after studying science and eng ineering
in both Scotland and Canada, joined the engineer staff of the Ont ario,
Simcoe and Huron Ry, becoming engineer in chief of the successor Northern
Ry in 1857. In 1863 the Canadian government appointed him chief surveyor
of the first portion of a portion of a proposed railway from Queb ec City
to Halifax and Saint John. Subsequently built as the Intercoloni al
railway. Fleming was its chief engineer. In 1871 he was appoint ed
engineer of the proposed new Canadian railway from Montreal to th e Pacific
Coast. He was in charge of the major surveys across the p rairies and
through the Rocky Mountains. He proposed constructing the ra ilway along a
northerly route through Edmonton and the Yellowhead Pass and then turning S
to Burrard Inlet on the Pacific. Altrough his spe cific recommendations
regarding the route were not followed, his extens ive survey work of
various routes, including the Kicking Horse Pass t hrough which the
Canadian Pacific main line was built , greatly facilita ted Canadian
railway construction. In the early years of the 20th ce ntury the Canadian
Northern railway work. He was a strong advocate of a telecommunication
cable from Canada to Australia, which he believ e would become a vital
communications link of the British Empire. The Pa cific Cable was
successfully laid in 1902. He was also interested in th e development of a
satisfactory world system of keeping time. The railway had made obsolete
the old system where every major centre set it s clocks according to local
astronomical conditions. Fleming advocated t he adoption of a standard or
mean time and hourly variations from t hat according to established time
zones. He was instrumental in con vening an International Prime Meridian
conference in Washington in 1884 at which the system of inter national
standard time-still in use to day-was adopted. Fleming also designed the
first Canadian postage stamp , the 3-penny beaver, issued in 1851. He was
created a CMG in 1877 an d a KCMG in 1897.