Canadian time zones

Why is Newfoundland, Canada half an hour off in the time zones?

Because it can? Because it’s a former independent dominion that set its own time by when noon, midnight, and equinox sunrise and sunset were at the appropriate times on the clock, like everyone else?

By the way, is everyone aware that Canada has seven time zones? The standard four from the contiguous U.S., plus Newfoundland, Atlantic, and Yukon.

Well, can any country pick it’s own time zone? If I formed my own independent nation, could I say it was 24 mins off, if it was? Why are all other time zones (that I’ve seen) on the hour?

No idea. Newfoundland only joined Confederation in 1949. Since there were no rail links to continental North America, there really wouldn’t be any reason to have the same time zone as Nova Scotia and company.

Couldn’t the same be said about Madagascar?

Newfoundland isn’t the only time zone whose offset from GMT isn’t an integer number of hours. There are many other time zones that are one half hour or even, I believe, one quarter hour off from the neighbouring one. You can check the nice map that is found on Wikipedia’s article on time zones.

Newfoundland is east of 60 degrees, while the rest of the continent is not. I suppose you could argue that since St. Johns is around 52 degrees it lies half way between the starting point of two time zones (45 and 60 degrees).

Of course you could! Your citizens would probably get pretty crotchety, though, if they had to adjust their watches by 24 minutes every time they travelled to another country, or (mentally) every time they watched a TV program broadcast from another country.

Now, 30 minutes is not as “weird” as 24, but it’s more weird than 0. So why do Newfies put up with it? I’ll leave it to our Canadian dopers to expound on that . . .

For convenience in business and travel–and especially, historically, to make railroad scheduling easier. Obviously the latter never applied to Newfoundland.

Probably the same reason that Louisville KY is in the Central Time Zone and uses Eastern Time.
That’s the way the peope want it.

Haven’t you read your Unca Cecil? Why is India 30 minutes out of step with everybody else?

The multiples of 15 degrees should be the centers of the time zones, not the boundaries. (GMT is, after all, based on the time at the prime meridian, 0 E/W. So solar time in St. John’s is lined up pretty well with GMT+3.5, since it lies halfway in between 45 W (where GMT+3 would be appropriate) and 60 W (where GMT+4 would be appropriate.) If St. John’s was on one of those two time zones, for comparison, it would be about as out of sync with solar time as Detroit or Atlanta – certainly not the end of the world.

A country or a state can choose a different time zone. The most amazing choice is China, which is all ONE BIG time zone, namely, Beijing time. That means that in the far west of China, the sun rises at weird times like 10 and 11 a.m. and sets at equally weird times depeding on the time of year. It is as if you forced the whole of the US to gu by Washington time. The sun would rise in Washington around 7:30 a.m. in November, but onl at 10:30 a.m. in California.

We aren’t 30 minutes out of step! It’s all you other people. :smiley:

I’m pretty sure Nepal is 15 minutes ahead of India, or GMT+5:45; which is weird, because it’s bordered on both the eastern and western side by India. As to why they do it; I doubt there’s a better reason than “to keep in sync with local solar time and because we can, nyaaaah!!”.

You are correct.

The time zone of the Australian state of South Australia and the adjoining Northern Territory is not on the hour. They’re on GMT+9.5

Lord Howe Island, off the eastern coast of the state of New South Wales, is on GMT+10.5. Norfolk Island is on GMT+11.5

The link I provided above is for one of the pages on which I use on a daily basis. Great resource. If you have the inclination (and the time), you can check every time zone in the world.

There’s also the pseudo–time zone of Saskatchewan, which is on Central Time but doesn’t observe daylight savings time. So for half the year it’s Central Time and half the year it’s Mountain Time.

They’re not the only ones. The Peace Region of B.C. doesn’t observe DST either, so half the year we’re on Pacific time, the other half we’re on mountain.

As for why Newfoundland is a half an hour apart, I think it’s just a way of them asserting their unique canadian culture. They had set their time zone before international standard time was invented (by a Canadian! :slight_smile: ) in 1878. They had no reason to change it untill Newfoundland joined confederation inl 1949. By then, I think it was a source of pride for them. Public officials tried changing it in '63, but there was strong public opposition, so they dropped it. I think Newfies just like being a bit different from the rest of Canada. Which they are in more than just their time zone, but that’s a whole different thread …

Off topic a bit, there’s an old joke about this. If you want to identify the Canadians in a bar, stand on your table and yell “The world will end at 10:00! 10:30 in newfoundland!” The canadians are the ones laughing.