British Columbia time plebiscite, 1972

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The British Columbia time referendum, 1972 was a referendum held in British Columbia on August 30, 1972, simultaneously with a general election. The actual referendum only took place in four electoral districts and part of a fifth, all located in the northeast or southeast parts of the province. The purpose of the vote was to determine which areas favoured following Mountain Time rather than Pacific Time and whether to follow daylight saving time or not. All areas chose to follow Mountain Time.


The referendum was the result of events in Alberta where, in 1971, Albertans voted to enact daylight saving time. Areas in the Peace River Country and Southeast were economically tied to Alberta, and hence were also on Mountain Time.[1]

The question was:

"Are you in favour of Pacific Standard time, including Pacific Daylight Saving time, as it is applicable now throughout the province?"[2]


Only four ridings and part of a fifth took part in the referendum. The two ridings in the northeastern part of the province were North Peace River and South Peace River. The two ridings in the southeastern part were Columbia River and Kootenay. Residents of Nelson-Creston east of an imaginary line running through Kootenay Lake and the Kootenay River that bisected that riding also took part.[2]

District Yes Percentage No Percentage Rejected Total
Columbia River 1366 34.95 2445 62.56 97 3908
Kootenay 4583 35.04 8123 62.11 372 13078
East part of Nelson-Creston 1900 49.39 1947 50.61 0 3847
North Peace River 1769 29.83 4079 68.77 83 5931
South Peace River 1853 27.49 4642 68.87 245 6740
Total 11471 34.24 21236 63.38 797 33504


The result of the referendum was Mountain Time being used instead of Pacific Time in places that rejected Pacific Time (which had been province-wide).[2] Hence, the boundary between time zones in British Columbia ended up being different from the provincial boundary.[3][4]

The northeast is on Mountain Standard Time year-round, without daylight saving time. In practice, this means that time there is identical with Alberta's in the winter and the rest of BC's in summer. The southeast is similar, with most of the applicable area on Mountain Time and following DST. The Creston area is exceptional, ignoring DST. This puts that town in a situation similar to the northeast.[5]

Since the time referendum the issue has flared up in Creston politics at least twice. At least two referendums have been held, neither of which succeeded in changing the status quo.[1]

In 2014 residents of Fort Nelson voted in favour of switching from Pacific Time with DST to year-round Mountain Standard Time.[6]


  1. ^ a b Mike Crawley (1996-04-06). "Not everyone in B.C. will be turning clock forward tonight: The Peace River region and the Kootenay town of Creston stay on standard time all year while the rest of us go to daylight time". Vancouver Province. p. A14. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Time Plebiscite". Electoral History of British Columbia, 1871-1986. Elections BC. Archived from the original on 2001-03-01. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  3. ^ "Winter Time Zones" (PDF). National Research Council. Retrieved 2008-04-03. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Summer Time Zones" (PDF). National Research Council. Retrieved 2008-04-03. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ H. David Matthews & Mary Vincent (September–October 1998). "It's About Time". Canadian Geographic. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  6. ^ "Fort Nelson votes in favour of changing time zone -". 2014-11-15. Retrieved 2017-01-02.