02-May-2002 -- As I explained at 46N 83W, I was only able to scout a few not yet visited confluences from the main highway during our 4,000 km trip from Halifax, NS to Winnipeg, MB. This was because our car was heavily loaded with our clothes and other personal items; and we had SNOW on April 26, April 28 and May 2 – this was not supposed to happen during our trip, but this is Canada!
Where the Trans-Canada highway crosses 90W, there is a rest area with a marker dedicated to Sir Sandford Fleming. I estimate that the confluence is about 10 km north of the highway – I saw a couple of trails or roads leading north a few km east of this rest area. Picture 1 is looking across the highway towards the confluence in the northern Canadian bush - a 4WD is probably necessary to access the confluence. Picture 4 looking west along the highway shows the light snow that had fallen during the previous night.
The 49N 90W confluence is about 95 km west of Thunder Bay, a city of about 115,000 population at the west end of Lake Superior. Since the development of the Canadian prairies as a major grain-growing area, Thunder Bay has been the main port for shipping the grain first to eastern Canada, and now to the world, since the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The dividing line between the Central and Eastern Time Zones passes through this confluence. It runs along the 90W meridian from the Canada-US border (the Pigeon River just a few km from 48N 90W in Minnesota) north almost to Hudson Bay (about 60 km short, it hits the Manitoba-Ontario border, and follows that NE to the shore.)
Because the rest area was still closed for the season, picture 2 shows an empty frame that normally shows (I believe) a map of the area, including the longitude/time zone line. The text of the plaque in picture 2 is "This marker commemorating Sir Sandford Fleming and the adoption of Standard Time as a worldwide concept is embedded in amethyst – Ontario’s official gemstone. This uniquely attractive variety of quartz ranges in colour from violet to deep purple and is found in northern Ontario and mined locally. Amethyst is known by many names such as Indian stone, rain stone, glass rock, quartz, wonder stone and signal stone. As Ontario’s official gemstone, its beauty and warmth reflect the character of the peoples of Ontario."
The text of the plaque in picture 3 is "Sir Sandford Fleming 1827 – 1915.
In 1897, Sir Sandford Fleming was knighted for his proposal outlining a worldwide uniform system for reckoning time. Fleming’s concept of Standard Time brought him immediate international recognition. A brilliant energetic innovator, Fleming’s many skills included engineering, surveying, mapmaking, engraving and writing.
Fleming was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland and emigrated to Canada, settling in Peterborough, Ontario in 1845. He soon moved to Toronto, where in 1849 he assisted in the founding of the Canadian Institute and two years later designed the first Canadian postage stamp. He was the builder of the Intercolonial Railway and as Chief Engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1871-1880) conducted surveys of a transcontinental route.
Sir Sandford died in Halifax on July 22, 1915."