Sir Sandford Fleming – railway engineer
Sir Sandford Fleming was a railway engineer who became a widely recognized publicist for various scientific, imperial, and public causes.
Sandford Fleming was born on January 7, 1827 in Scotland. In 1845 he went to Canada and qualified as a civil engineer.
In 1849 Fleming was engaged in founding the Canadian Institute at Toronto. In 1851 he designed the first Canadian postage stamp, the threepenny beaver.
In 1855 Sandford married Ann Jean Hall of Peterborough. They had six children.
From 1857 to 1862 he was chief engineer of the Ontario, Simcoe, and Huron (later Northern) Railway. He also contributed to planning a major harbor development at Toronto. He contributed to building a railway system in the Maritime Provinces. In 1873 he was appointed chief engineer of the Intercolonial Railway.
He had prominence and considerable influence in Canadian public life.
In 1871 Fleming was appointed engineer in chief of the proposed Canadian Pacific Railway.
From the early 1880s he devoted much travel and abundant correspondence to stirring interest in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand in a Pacific cable link with Britain through Canada.
Fleming was a charter member and early president of the Royal Society of Canada. From 1880 until his death he was chancellor of Queen’s University in Kingston, and lay leader of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
In 1897 Fleming was knighted.
He wrote many scientific papers and reports on railway surveys and construction. He offered the concept of time zones. At first his idea was rejected, but in 1929 time zones had been adopted in all major countries of the world.
Fleming died on July 22, 1915 at Halifax.