On April 24, 1845, Sandford Fleming and his brother David embarked on a sailing ship, the Brilliant, in Glasgow harbour. Fleming set foot on the ground in Quebec City on June 5, to discover a city reeling under the impact of a devastating fire.
The next day, he embarked on the steamship that would take him to Upper Canada. Putting in at Montreal, he met his former schoolteacher in Scotland, William Bethune, who was now the principal of the Montreal High School. By the time he reached Peterborough, his destination, he had been travelling for eight weeks since leaving Scotland. Trips of this length were normal at the time.