How the times have changed
Falling back to Standard Time this Sunday at 2 a.m.
October 31, 2012 — Ottawa, Ontario
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto City Hall
Credit: Think Stock
On Sunday, November 4, 2012, at 2:00 a.m., the majority of Canada will need to set back the clock an hour for the return to Standard Time and gain a little more daylight in the morning as a result.
The importance of time standards is easy to forget in the digital age. The majority of our population is motivated by an alarm clock to get the day rolling. But consider a time when the only form of time standards came from the chimes of the local clock tower to keep you on track. Sure, watches and personal clocks have existed for centuries, but they weren’t always affordable to the average Canadian. And if you were fortunate enough to own one… how could you be sure the time was accurate?
Then, on November 5, 1939, the CBC began broadcasting Canada’s official time, delivered by the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa until the time functions were transferred to the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in 1970. Across Canada, people had a way to coordinate their clocks and watches to an official reference – the same used for train schedules, planes, etc.
Today, most Canadians rely on their smartphones, alarm clocks and other devices to keep their day on track. Canada’s official time is maintained by cesium atomic clocks at the NRC Frequency and Time Standards Lab in Ottawa. These clocks have an accuracy of one second, every 3 million years. That accuracy is important in the coordination of computers, air traffic control, and GPS systems, to name a few.
NRC disseminates time through shortwave radio broadcasts, a telephone talking clock, a web clock, network time protocol (NTP) and through CBC and Radio-Canada broadcasts, so be sure to tune in and don’t forget to fall back on Sunday!
Media spokespeople available upon request or send your questions on Twitter @nrc-cnrc.
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National Research Council of Canada
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