Turn those clocks back this weekend

Charlotte County – Get ready to gain an hour of sleep on Saturday night/Sunday morning as clocks “fall back” on Sunday, Nov. 4.

At 2 a.m., clocks officially go back one hour, gaining many of us a delightful extra hour in bed.

Germany and Austria were the first countries to use Daylight Saving Time (DST) in 1916,  a few hundred Canadians beat the German Empire by eight years. On July 1, 1908, the residents of Port Arthur, Ontario, today’s Thunder Bay, turned their clocks forward by one hour- effectively creating the first DST period.

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Other locations in Canada soon followed suit. On April 23, 1914, Regina, SK, implemented DST. The cities of Winnipeg and Brandon, MB did it on April 24, 1916. According to the April 3, 1916, edition of the Manitoba Free Press, DST in Regina “proved so popular that bylaw now brings it into effect automatically”.

However, the idea did not catch on globally until Germany introduced DST in 1916. Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by one hour on April 30, 1916 – two years into WWI. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort.

Within a few weeks, the idea was followed by the United Kingdom, France, and many other countries. Most of them reverted to standard time after WWI, and it wasn’t until the next World War that DST made its return in most of Europe.

Daylight Saving Time is now used in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over 1 billion people annually. The beginning and end dates vary from country to country.