Skip to content

Column: Is it time for a (time) change?

An opinion piece on time change and the future of this tradition.

I hope you enjoyed your sleep on Sunday.

Other people in North America weren’t so lucky.

The annual time change occurred on Sunday. At some arbitrarily-assigned time, clocks were shifted ahead one hour throughout the country, except for Saskatchewan and Yukon.

(I’ll refrain from the pointless debate on whether those that observe the time change are using daylight saving time, which is the conventional mainstream wisdom, or whether Saskatchewan and Yukon have daylight saving time because they don’t change their clocks, as some would have you believe).

I’ve always liked the concept of having the extra hour of daylight in the evening at the expense of early morning hours, at least from April to October. Give me more time to be outdoors in the evening. Give me an extra hour of daylight to take photos at the Estevan Motor Speedway, the local ball diamonds or other outdoor activities that we have in the southeast during the most-fun months.

Give me an extra hour of daylight to go jogging at the track south of the Estevan Comprehensive School, or to go walking on the pathways in our community.

If I get home at 8 p.m. from work, it gives me an extra hour of daylight so I can barbecue my supper, or just have supper on the patio while it’s still daylight.

Obviously there are downsides. Farmers won’t be happy. Many will have to get up to do chores in the dark.

If we change our clocks or, according to some, “observe daylight saving time”, it would take away part of the uniqueness of one of the really cool attractions in the southeast: the ninth hole at the Gateway Cities Golf Course at North Portal. Your tee shot would still land in a different country (if you do it right), but it wouldn’t land one hour later. Saskatchewan and North Dakota would be on the same time?

And would that mean that it would be two hours of difference instead of one between Saskatchewan and B.C.? Right now, it’s easier to call my family or to watch the Vancouver Canucks play. (Thankfully, the Canucks are easier to watch now than a few weeks ago).

The concept of “daylight saving time” seems to be losing support each year. Twenty years ago, Saskatchewan was a punchline because we didn’t change our clocks. We were viewed as backwater because we couldn’t figure out, or remember, that you set your clocks ahead in the spring and turn them back in the fall. Now we’re the envy of a lot of people.

A motion to adopt daylight saving time was passed at the 2001 Saskatchewan Urban Municipalizes Association’s convention. Of course, nothing came of it.

There was also talk at one time of bringing DST in for the eastern half of the province. I think Saskatoon might have been the dividing line. Again, the debate eventually faded.

If you’ve been in Consul in southwest Saskatchewan on or around the longest day of the year, you can understand why they might want the status quo. It’s still daylight at close to 10 p.m. as it is. They don’t need another hour of daylight in the evening.

It seems like the dissatisfaction with the time change started in 2007, when the date for it starting was switched from the first Sunday of April to the second Sunday in March, and the end was pushed back a week from the first Sunday in November to the second.

If we changed our clocks, we would have had sunrise on March 12 at 8:12 a.m. instead of 7:12 a.m. If it started in early April, as it used to, sunrise would have been around 7:45 a.m. instead of 6:45 a.m.

For Canadians and those in many parts of the northern U.S., winter conditions still exist, so our outdoor tourism attractions aren’t seeing the benefit of “daylight saving time” starting on March 12.

My guess is that during my lifetime, the concept of changing our clocks will be abandoned as more people question the practice. In fact, the change might come sooner. It’s going to take a group of jurisdictions to come together. B.C. has said it would consider dropping the time change, but it would need Washington, Oregon and California to be on board.

Once the first domino falls, others will go down as well until DST is a distant memory.