Sunday’s inauguration of daylight saving time marks a notable milestone in history – the 100th anniversary of its introduction in what was then the self-governing colony of Newfoundland. When that occurred in 1917, Newfoundland became one of the first countries in the world to turn its clocks back to gain more daylight in winter working days. It followed the pioneers in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Britain who adopted it a year earlier. Canada only started it in 1918, although some cities had done so earlier. Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) made the move in 1908.
Since Newfoundland exclusively occupies its very own time zone, it is first in line in North America to ring daylight saving time in for another season. Its unique time zone exists because of the island’s location and its politically independent status when time zones were established.
My Dad never spoke of daylight saving time. He always called it, rather derisively, John Anderson’s time. That’s because it was politician Hon. John Anderson who persuaded the Government of Newfoundland to implement daylight saving. Then, as now, it wasn’t universally acclaimed, but it caught on effectively from then on.
John Murray Anderson
A Scot who came to Newfoundland in 1875, John Anderson had one other claim to fame. He was the father of John Murray Anderson, who moved from St. John’s to New York where he won lasting fame as an entertainment impresario on Broadway. In the heyday of the American musical in the 1920s and 30s, he was second only to Florenz Ziefield as one of the great producers.
A Lady Anderson look alike
But he’s not to be confused with David Murray Anderson who served as Governor of Newfoundland in the 1930s. My Dad must have been impressed by him, or at least his family, when it came time to christen a unique facility which served our family’s needs at our summer bungalow in Kelligrews. Used for three or four seasons before he had indoor facilities installed, the sturdy wooden outhouse erected a hundred yards or so away in the back garden, was reverently dubbed, and frequently referred to as, the “Lady Anderson.”