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Industry Achievement
Sir Sandford Fleming (2002)
A pioneer Canadian civil engineer and surveyor, Sandford Fleming is a leading historical figure in the development of the Canadian railway industry. Born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in January 1827, Fleming immigrated to Canada in 1845.

Sir Sandford FlemingFleming's first railway posting was working on the survey of the Ontario, Simcoe, and Huron Railway. In 1863, Fleming became the chief engineer responsible for the completion of the Intercolonial Railway, connecting Québec with the Martimes, completing the project in 1876.

In 1871, Fleming was appointed as the chief engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway and was charged with the survey of the line in western Canada through the Rocky Mountains. His survey chose the Yellowhead route through Edmonton and present-day Jasper in 1872; however, this northern route was never utilized by the CPR. A southern survey closer to the United States border was chosen instead. He left the CPR in 1880, but continued to act as a consultant to the company. In fact, he found and surveyed the Kicking Horse Pass on the railway’s southern route through the Rockies.

Knighted in 1897, Fleming also invented the system of “standard time” in use world-wide today. By dividing the globe into 24 separate time zones, Fleming’s concept standardized time on railways in Canada, adding to the safety and efficiency of operations. Fleming was also the designer of Canada’s first postage stamp — the “three-penny beaver” introduced in 1851. He died on July 22, 1915 and will forever be remembered as one of Canada’s first railway heroes.

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