Quetico (and other places in NW Ontario)

Chris Walton Chris.Walton at telus.com
Sun Nov 5 07:23:43 UTC 2006


It looks like the entire MNR site is down.  It was working on Saturday morning (Toronto time).  Hopefully it will come up soon!
The maps on this site are actually scanned copies of paper maps; the idea being that you can view an image of the map before you fork out money for a paper copy.  The resolution of the scanned images is terrible so the writing on the maps is virtually impossible to read.

If you want a rough idea of the shape of the park have a peek at http://www.queticofoundation.org/maps/park_map.gif

Let me know if you want me to generate a set of points or if you would prefer to do it yourself; I don't mind either way.
I figure that the area could be roughly defined with about 100 points but to properly follow the park boundary would take around 2000 points.

And now putting Quetico aside for a minute... you need to decide which zone to use for the "other" areas in Ontario west of 90°.

According the TZ database, Fort Frances and Rainy River did not use daylight saving until 1974; this is why there is a dedicated zone called America/Rainy_River.  So Rainy River and Fort Frances should use America/Rainy_River without question.

Presumably the rest of the region west of 90° has used CST/CDT since WWII.
According to the "zonetab" file, the region is supposed to use America/Winnipeg.

America/Winnipeg results in incorrect times for one hour each year from 1966 through to 2005.
This is because Manitoba "used" to change the clocks at 3:00a.m. every fall.  The practice stopped this year.
Ontario has always changed the clocks 2:00a.m.

America/Rainy_River gives correct times for the entire region from 1974 onwards.

Personally I think that America/Rainy_River is the better choice for the entire region because it provides correct rules for the last 32 years.
Technically there should be another zone called America/Kenora but I doubt anybody wants to bother creating it.

If it were up to me I would merge zones that have been the same for at least 25 years and create entries in the "backward" file for compatibility; but I know this would be against the official rules!


-----Original Message-----
From: Jesper Norgaard Welen [mailto:jnorgard at prodigy.net.mx] 
Sent: November 4, 2006 4:38 PM
To: TZ-list
Cc: Chris Walton
Subject: RE: Quetico


Unfortunately I'm getting this error when trying to access the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server error '80004005' 
[DBMSSOCN]General network error. Check your network documentation. 
//global.asa, line 181 

I'm creating a world map, which doesn't have a huge accuracy, however, it is zoomable, so the simpler the jagged borders I make the more a curve in a (timezone or country) border looks wrong. There are no splines or other sophisticated map boundaries (fractals!?). I will be plotting the Quetico map
with the least accurate technology, with a mouse click on each point in the boundary :-( That said, I would like to get as much accuracy as I can get, although it is also an issue not to have too many points for a boundary, because the size of the map data will blow up disproportionately.

Many of the country borders I got from a pre-made map, and this map has more accuracy in some areas and less in others. I tend to want more accuracy with small islands or timezones, while less on bigger outlines, like Quebec or Ontario.

I *do* understand that this practice is in contradiction with the current legislation, but then I want to document current practice when it has a tendency to be official, for instance official park personnel would use
GMT-5 everywhere in the park when reporting something on the ground inside the park area, while park visitants might have a different time, as they please.

- Jesper

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Walton [mailto:Chris.Walton at telus.com]
Sent: Sábado, 04 de Noviembre de 2006 8:42
To: tz at lecserver.nci.nih.gov; jnorgard at prodigy.net.mx
Subject: Quetico


Unfortunately Quetico Provincial Park is not a nice simple square. It has a
perimeter that is roughly 300km long; it has a few straight sections but
much of it follows lakes and rivers.

Here is a sample map; this is part of the perimeter that is made of nice
straight lines:

Here is another sample map; (look for the black dashed line where it follows
the shore of Three Mile Lake and Quetico River... the line is not

Here is another sample map showing part of the perimeter that follows the
Ontario/Minnesota (Canada/US) border:
If you are going to try and define time zone boundaries, the jagged
international border needs to be dealt with regardless of whether you place
Quetico in America/Atikokan or America/Rainy_River. The same border is part
of the northern perimeter of America/Chicago.

Obviously this is not the only part of the world where boundaries don't
follow straight lines. How do you usually handle jagged borders? Do you
approximate with a lot of single points or do you approximate with a series
of mathematical splines? How much accuracy are you looking for?  The scale
of the map that is used to get the data makes a huge difference!

Before we take this further... Here is a summary of time practices for
Atikokan & Quetico... Nothing new but please read. I just want to make sure
we are all on the same page.

The Township of Atikokan and Quetico Provincial Park both lie west of 90°
longitude. Based on Ontario Legislation, the time observed in this region
should be CST/CDT (UTC-6 in winter and UTC-5 in summer). The local mining
companies don't like the clocks moving forwards and backwards and pressured
the Township of Atikokan to remain on UTC-5 year round. The tradition
probably goes back to the end of World War II. The Township has never had
any by-law or formal documentation in place to cover the practice. If there
was such a by-law it would automatically be invalidated by the Ontario Time

Quetico Provincial Park is a relatively large wilderness park that is
situated very close to Atikokan (the southeast corner of Atikokan township
is actually located in the park). Total land area of the park is 4758 square
km. For comparison, the park is just a little smaller than the province of
Prince Edward Island. For people that like US comparisons, it is bigger than
Rhode Island but smaller than Delaware. There are no roads in the park other
than those at the main campground. The primary means of travel in the park
(in summer months) is the canoe.

The head office of Quetico Provincial Park is in the Township of Atikokan.
The park staff (Ontario Ministry of Resources employees) use "Atikokan time"
for official business year round. (I got confirmation of this back in July
from the park superintendent.) Campers, canoeists, skiers, hikers, and those
who prefer snow shoes can set their watches as they please without being
shot (because we don't use guns in Canada). In the summer months a.k.a. the
tourist season, America/Atikokan, America/Rainy_River, America/Winnipeg, and
America/Chicago are on UTC-5 so most visitors to Quetico park would never
know there is anything special about "Atikokan time". The hour difference
between America/Atikokan and the other time zone regions only shows up in
the winter when the tourists have gone home and there are presumably very
few people using the park.

The bottom line is that we are dealing with an area where visitors will use
what ever time they please but any local record keeping will be done with

For the purposes of defining time zone boundaries on paper (or computer), I
am not claiming that Quetico "must" be placed in the America/Atikokan time
zone... but I will try and support anybody that decides to do so.


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