Virtual Museum Canada

Sir SandFord Fleming - The knight of time

A man of his time

A man of his time

Stamp illustrating Fleming
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When Sandford Fleming was born in 1827, the world’s first railway line had just been built in Great Britain. In the course of his lifetime, Fleming saw the advent of the telegraph, the telephone, electric lighting, the refrigerator and the camera. The nineteenth century was a period of enthusiasm marked by the introduction of new sources of energy, such as steam, and mechanized production.

View of Mount Royal (Montreal)
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Great Britain experienced tremendous economic growth. Scotland, where Sandford Fleming was born, also benefited from emerging products and technology. The young Fleming witnessed this era of industrial revolution, whose benefits lead to the creation of the middle class. When, like thousands of other British citizens attracted by the availability of jobs and vast tracts of land, he decided to emigrate to Canada, the industrial boom had barely begun in what was still an essentially agricultural colony.

Kootaney, Rocky Mountains landscape in the 19th Century
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In Canada, everything was yet to be built. Stimulated by challenge and attuned to progress, Fleming flung himself into an adventurous future with enthusiasm and creativity. His impact would be felt, above all, on the railway industry.