Sir Sandford Fleming

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.

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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.