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The Time In The Canada

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by — creator of Time Genie

Updated: Friday, March 11, 2016

Flag of Canada

Flag of Canada.

What time is it in Canada? This is a commonly asked question — but this question requires a question in return — where in Canada, eh?

Sorry that the time in Canada is or can be confusing. But this article will help makes things clear.

Although most people in Canada live within 100 kilometers of the border with the USA and although Canada only has a population of about 35,000,000, Canada is the second largest country in the world (Russia is the largest). Additionally, Canada has the longest coastline (Indonesia has the second longest coastline). Although Canada has a relatively small population, the country itself is massive and thus Canada requires six time zones.

Within the 6 time zones of Canada, there are some interesting or puzzling time zones — depending on how you look at it.


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Canada — Videos

Discover the history of Canada and learn how Canada created standard time.

Although some have been led to believe by Rick Mercer, a Canadian comedian, that Canada uses a 20 hour clock, please know that Canada does in fact use a 24 hour clock just like the rest of the world!

Canada — A Quick Lesson in (Time Zone) History

Although Canadian history begins with the arrival of the aboriginal people of Canada, for the purposes of understanding time zones in Canada (and how Canada's creation of standardized time zones impacted the world), the focus shall be the history that begins with the arrival of the Europeans.

Although the Vikings arrived around 1000 AD and established a small colony at the World Heritage Site known as L'Anse aux Meadows, modern Canadian history begins with the arrival of John Cabot in 1497 followed by Jacques Cartier in 1534.

After the arrival of these early European explorers came colonization. Eventually, on July 1, 1867, Canada became a country with only 4 provinces — Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. More provinces eventually joined but British Columbia would not join the confederation unless a railway was built connecting British Columbia to eastern Canada.

It's with the creation of the transcontinental railway known as the Canadian Pacific Railway that the birth of time zones in Canada — and for that matter, the world — really begins.

Sir Sandford Fleming, a Scottish Canadian engineer, realized the importance of time zones after missing a train once due to an error in the time schedule.

Before standardized time zones, different towns along the train route would have different local times. As a result, you could never truly be sure when the train would arrive or leave. With this awareness, time zones were born in Canada due to the significance and importance of the Canadian Pacific Railway to the success of the young country known as Canada.

The railroads instituted standard time by creating time zones in the United States and Canada on November 18, 1883. This ensured that every town, even if in a different time zone, was following a standardized method of determining its local time.

Prior to the railroads, man simply couldn't move fast enough between towns. Thus, before trains when walking or horseback was the only method of transportation, there was no need to worry about standardized time zones because to go from one town to another took time — thus, if different towns used different times, it ultimately made no impact.

Now, with planes, trains and automobiles, humans move around the world faster than ever before. Without standardized time zones, catching a connecting flight at an airport, as an example, would be a nightmare.

Thanks to Canada, its transcontinental railway and especially thanks to Sir Sandford Fleming, the world has standardized time zones to this day.

What Time Is It In Canada? There Are 6 Main Time Zones

There are 6 main time zones in Canada used by the 10 provinces and 3 territories. Notice how Canada spans approximately 90 degrees of longitude. Based on the theory that every 15 degrees of longitude equals a new 1 hour time zone, we can begin to see how or why Canada has and needs 6 time zones (6 x 15 = 90).

Map of Canada
A map of Canada. The east coast of the Canada is on the right side of the map. The west coast of the Canada is on the left side of the map — map copyright Time Genie.

Click a heading to sort the table.

Time Zone Major Cities
Newfoundland Time Bay Roberts, Conception Bay South, Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Gander, Grand Falls–Windsor, Mount Pearl, Paradise, St. John’s
Atlantic Time Bathurst, Bedford, Charlottetown, Dartmouth, Dieppe, Edmundston, Fall River, Fredericton, Glace Bay, Halifax, Kentville, Labrador City, Les Îles–de–la–Madeleine, Lower Sackville, Miramichi, Moncton, Nelson–Miramichi, New Glasgow, Quispamsis, Rothesay, Saint John, Summerside, Sydney, Truro
Eastern Time Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Etobicoke, Gatineau, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, Laval, London, Longueuil, Markham, Mississauga, Montreal, Nepean, North York, Oakville, Oshawa, Ottawa, Quebec City, Richmond Hill, Saguenay, Scarborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Vaughan, Windsor, York
Central Time Altona, Brandon, Dauphin, Dryden, East St. Paul, Flin Flon, Fort Frances, Ilford, Kenora, Morden, Norway House, Portage La Prairie, Red Lake, Regina*, Saint Boniface, Saskatoon*, Selkirk, Sioux Lookout, Steinbach, Stonewall, Swan River, The Pas, Thompson, West St. Paul, Winkler, Winnipeg
Mountain Time Airdrie, Brooks, Calgary, Camrose, Canmore, Cochrane, Cold Lake, Cranbrook, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Fort Saskatchewan, Grande Prairie, Lacombe, Leduc, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, Red Deer, Redwood Meadows, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Strathmore, Sylvan Lake, Wetaskiwin, Wood Buffalo, Yellowknife
Pacific Time Abbotsford, Burnaby, Campbell River, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Courtenay, Delta, Duncan, Kamloops, Kelowna, Ladner, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Nanaimo, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Parksville, Penticton, Port Alberni, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Prince George, Richmond, Saanich, Surrey, Vancouver, Vernon, Victoria, West Kelowna, West Vancouver, Westbank, White Rock, Whitehorse

* Please note:

Both Regina and Saskatoon do not observe daylight saving time and use Central Standard Time all year.

→ Learn more about the time zones in Saskatchewan.

Time Zone Data

Information about the 6 main time zones in Canada.

Time Zone Standard Time Daylight Saving Time
Newfoundland Time NT Newfoundland Standard Time NST GMT -3:30 Newfoundland Daylight Time NDT GMT -2:30
Atlantic Time AT Atlantic Standard Time AST GMT -4 Atlantic Daylight Time ADT GMT -3
Eastern Time ET Eastern Standard Time EST GMT -5 Eastern Daylight Time EDT GMT -4
Central Time CT Central Standard Time CST GMT -6 Central Daylight Time CDT GMT -5
Mountain Time MT Mountain Standard Time MST GMT -7 Mountain Daylight Time MDT GMT -6
Pacific Time PT Pacific Standard Time PST GMT -8 Pacific Daylight Time PDT GMT -7
A map showing the time zones of Canada
Map showing time zones of Canada.

Daylight Saving Time

Most, but not all, cities or provinces in Canada observe daylight saving time (DST).

→ At 2 AM local time, clocks are advanced 1 hour on the second Sunday in March.

→ At 2 AM local time, clocks go back 1 hour on the first Sunday in November.

Although Saskatchewan as a rule does not observe daylight saving time, there are two locations in Saskatchewan that do. The towns in Saskatchewan that do observe daylight saving time are Creighton and Denare Beach. Both towns are located close to Flin Flon, Manitoba. Creighton is within spitting distance of Flin Flon (both towns are located next to each other on the Saskatchewan / Manitoba border) while Denare Beach is a little bit further away but still relatively close to Flin Flon.

In addition to Saskatchewan, parts of British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Ontario, and Quebec also do not observe daylight saving time. Locations in these provinces that do not observe daylight saving are (Click a heading to sort the table):

City / Town Province GMT ± Time Zone Name
Atikokan Ontario GMT -5 Eastern Standard Time
Blanc–Sablon Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
Chetwynd British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Chevery Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
Creston British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Dawson Creek British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Fort St. John British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Harrington Harbour Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
Hudson’s Hope British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Kegaska Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
La Romaine Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
Old Fort Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
Pakuashipi Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
Pickle Lake Ontario GMT -5 Eastern Standard Time
Pouce Coupe British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Taylor British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Tête–à–la–Baleine Quebec GMT -4 Atlantic Standard Time
Tumbler Ridge British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Tungsten Northwest Territories GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time
Yahk British Columbia GMT -7 Mountain Standard Time

Canada Time Zone Chart

By using the following time zone chart you can see the time differences between the time zones in Canada.

→ Try Time Genie's time zone converter.

Click a heading to sort the table.

Newfoundland Atlantic Eastern Central Mountain Pacific
00:30 12:30 AM 00:00 12:00 AM 23:00 11:00 PM 22:00 10:00 PM 21:00 9:00 PM 20:00 8:00 PM
01:30 1:30 AM 01:00 1:00 AM 00:00 12:00 AM 23:00 11:00 PM 22:00 10:00 PM 21:00 9:00 PM
02:30 2:30 AM 02:00 2:00 AM 01:00 1:00 AM 00:00 12:00 AM 23:00 11:00 PM 22:00 10:00 PM
03:30 3:30 AM 03:00 3:00 AM 02:00 2:00 AM 01:00 1:00 AM 00:00 12:00 AM 23:00 11:00 PM
04:30 4:30 AM 04:00 4:00 AM 03:00 3:00 AM 02:00 2:00 AM 01:00 1:00 AM 00:00 12:00 AM
05:30 5:30 AM 05:00 5:00 AM 04:00 4:00 AM 03:00 3:00 AM 02:00 2:00 AM 01:00 1:00 AM
06:30 6:30 AM 06:00 6:00 AM 05:00 5:00 AM 04:00 4:00 AM 03:00 3:00 AM 02:00 2:00 AM
07:30 7:30 AM 07:00 7:00 AM 06:00 6:00 AM 05:00 5:00 AM 04:00 4:00 AM 03:00 3:00 AM
08:30 8:30 AM 08:00 8:00 AM 07:00 7:00 AM 06:00 6:00 AM 05:00 5:00 AM 04:00 4:00 AM
09:30 9:30 AM 09:00 9:00 AM 08:00 8:00 AM 07:00 7:00 AM 06:00 6:00 AM 05:00 5:00 AM
10:30 10:30 AM 10:00 10:00 AM 09:00 9:00 AM 08:00 8:00 AM 07:00 7:00 AM 06:00 6:00 AM
11:30 11:30 AM 11:00 11:00 AM 10:00 10:00 AM 09:00 9:00 AM 08:00 8:00 AM 07:00 7:00 AM
12:30 12:30 PM 12:00 12:00 PM 11:00 11:00 AM 10:00 10:00 AM 09:00 9:00 AM 08:00 8:00 AM
13:30 1:30 PM 13:00 1:00 PM 12:00 12:00 PM 11:00 11:00 AM 10:00 10:00 AM 09:00 9:00 AM
14:30 2:30 PM 14:00 2:00 PM 13:00 1:00 PM 12:00 12:00 PM 11:00 11:00 AM 10:00 10:00 AM
15:30 3:30 PM 15:00 3:00 PM 14:00 2:00 PM 13:00 1:00 PM 12:00 12:00 PM 11:00 11:00 AM
16:30 4:30 PM 16:00 4:00 PM 15:00 3:00 PM 14:00 2:00 PM 13:00 1:00 PM 12:00 12:00 PM
17:30 5:30 PM 17:00 5:00 PM 16:00 4:00 PM 15:00 3:00 PM 14:00 2:00 PM 13:00 1:00 PM
18:30 6:30 PM 18:00 6:00 PM 17:00 5:00 PM 16:00 4:00 PM 15:00 3:00 PM 14:00 2:00 PM
19:30 7:30 PM 19:00 7:00 PM 18:00 6:00 PM 17:00 5:00 PM 16:00 4:00 PM 15:00 3:00 PM
20:30 8:30 PM 20:00 8:00 PM 19:00 7:00 PM 18:00 6:00 PM 17:00 5:00 PM 16:00 4:00 PM
21:30 9:30 PM 21:00 9:00 PM 20:00 8:00 PM 19:00 7:00 PM 18:00 6:00 PM 17:00 5:00 PM
22:30 10:30 PM 22:00 10:00 PM 21:00 9:00 PM 20:00 8:00 PM 19:00 7:00 PM 18:00 6:00 PM
23:30 11:30 PM 23:00 11:00 PM 22:00 10:00 PM 21:00 9:00 PM 20:00 8:00 PM 19:00 7:00 PM

Provinces with Locations in the Newfoundland Time Zone

Provinces with Locations in the Atlantic Time Zone

Provinces and Territories with Locations in the Eastern Time Zone

Provinces and Territories with Locations in the Central Time Zone

Provinces and Territories with Locations in the Mountain Time Zone

Provinces and Territories with Locations in the Pacific Time Zone

Provinces and Territories with Multiple Time Zones

Several provinces and territories in Canada have multiple time zones. These provinces and territories include:

British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

Nunavut is the only province or territory than spans 3 time zones.

Unofficial Time Zones in Canada

Canada reportedly has some locations with an unofficial time zones in Labrador. However, the locations that use an unofficial time zones are so small that Time Genie has been unable to identify them.

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