Welcome to Canada’s Atlantic Time Zone (AST), a unique region that offers many experiences for travelers and locals alike. With its rugged coastline, charming towns, and rich cultural heritage, the Atlantic provinces of Canada are a must-see destination for anyone looking for adventure, natural beauty, and a taste of East Coast hospitality.
In this guide, we’ll explore the Atlantic Time Zone and provide tips for travelers looking to make the most of their time in this part of Canada. From exploring the quaint fishing villages of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to hiking the scenic trails of Newfoundland and Labrador, there is no shortage of activities to enjoy on AST.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, we invite you to join us as we discover the wonders of the Atlantic Time Zone in Canada. So pack your bags, grab a map, and start exploring!
What Atlantic Standard Time (AST) is, and how it relates to Canada
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) is one of Canada’s six standard time zones. It is used in the Atlantic provinces, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) and four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-4).
Understanding AST is important for travelers and locals as it affects many aspects of daily life, including transportation schedules, business hours, and entertainment. Knowing the time difference when planning activities, especially when traveling across time zones, is essential to avoid missing important events or appointments. Additionally, understanding AST can help travelers acclimate to the Atlantic provinces’ local customs, culture, and lifestyle, making their stay more enjoyable and rewarding.
Atlantic Standard Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (AST) is a standard time zone in use from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March—when Daylight Saving Time (DST) is not in effect. Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT) is used during the remainder of the year.
AST is the Atlantic Time Zone: In everyday usage, AST is often referred to as Atlantic Time (AT) or the Atlantic Time Zone. This can add a bit of confusion as the term Atlantic Time does not differentiate between standard time and Daylight Saving Time, so Atlantic Time switches between AST and ADT in areas that use DST during part of the year.
Most North American time zones have generic terms, including Pacific Time (PT), Mountain Time (MT), Central Time (CT), and Eastern Time (ET).
What’s the time in the Atlantic Time Zone?
Atlantic Standard Time (AST)
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) is a standard time zone in Canada that is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) and four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-4). AST is used in Canada’s Atlantic provinces, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The time zone boundaries of AST are determined by the 60°W longitude line, which runs through the eastern portion of the Atlantic provinces. This line is the boundary between AST and Newfoundland Time Zone (NT), used in southeastern Labrador and Newfoundland.
Compared to other time zones in Canada, AST is one hour ahead of EST, two hours ahead of Central Standard Time (CST), three hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time (MST), and four hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Around the world, AST is observed in a few other regions, including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Bermuda.
AST is used in the Atlantic provinces of Canada due to its geographic location and history. The provinces are located in the easternmost part of Canada and have a long maritime trade and fishing history. The use of AST also aligns with the time zone used by the neighboring Maritime provinces in the United States. AST was first adopted in Canada in 1884 when the Canadian government standardized time zones across the country.
AST in the provinces of Canada
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) is used in the four Atlantic provinces of Canada, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. These provinces operate in the same time zone, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
AST affects daily life in the provinces in many ways. It determines business hours, transportation schedules, and entertainment activities, among other things. Visitors to the Atlantic provinces should consider the time difference when planning activities to avoid missing important events or appointments.
Canadian provinces using AST in the winter and ADT in the summer: Most of Labrador (mainland part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
Canadian province using AST all year: Quebec – East of 63 West only.
Despite the time difference, the Atlantic provinces offer a wealth of attractions and experiences for visitors to enjoy while staying on AST. Some of the best places to visit in the provinces include:
- Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia: This picturesque fishing village is located just 40 minutes from Halifax and is known for its lighthouse and stunning coastal scenery.
- Fundy National Park, New Brunswick: This park offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and sea kayaking, as well as stunning views of the Bay of Fundy.
- Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador: This park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in Canada, including fjords, mountains, and waterfalls.
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: The capital city of Prince Edward Island is known for its historic architecture, charming streetscapes, and scenic waterfront.
AST also affects daily life in the Atlantic provinces, particularly during daylight saving time, which begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. During this time, clocks are moved forward by one hour, meaning there is an additional hour of daylight in the evenings. This can affect the timing of outdoor activities and events, and visitors should be aware of the time change to avoid confusion or missed opportunities.
Traveling to Canada on AST
When traveling to Canada on Atlantic Standard Time (AST), there are a few things that visitors should keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
Firstly, travelers should adjust their clocks to match AST as soon as they arrive in the Atlantic provinces to avoid confusion or missed appointments. It’s also important to remember the time difference when making travel plans, such as booking flights or arranging transportation.
To adjust to the time difference and manage jet lag, travelers should try to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. It’s also helpful to adjust to the new time zone by gradually shifting sleep and meal times to align with local schedules. Exposing oneself to natural daylight and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol can also help to regulate sleep and wake cycles.
Atlantic Standard Time (AST) Map
The Atlantic Standard Time (AST) zone is primarily observed in the eastern region of Canada, including the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Labrador. The AST zone is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST), observed in areas such as New York and Washington, DC.
On a time zone map of North America, the AST zone is typically represented by green, while different colors or shades represent other time zones. The map would show the AST zone stretching across Canada’s eastern coast, from the northernmost point of Labrador down to the southernmost point of Nova Scotia.
It’s also worth noting that during daylight saving time, some areas within the AST zone, such as parts of Quebec and Ontario, may switch to Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT), which is one hour ahead of AST. However, the general geographic area of the AST zone remains the same.
Did you know about Atlantic Standard Time?
Here are a few surprising facts about Atlantic Standard Time (AST):
- AST is observed in Canada and other parts of the world. In addition to the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Labrador, AST is also used in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic.
- Newfoundland and Labrador, located in the easternmost part of Canada, are the only provinces with their time zone. Known as Newfoundland Standard Time (NST), it is 30 minutes ahead of AST.
- During the summer months, parts of eastern Canada that observe AST switch to Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT), which is one hour ahead of AST. This means that during the summer, the time difference between eastern Canada and other parts of North America can be greater than usual.
- AST is used in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, which borders the US state of Maine. As a result, some areas of Maine close to the border also use AST to avoid confusion and scheduling conflicts.
- The decision to observe AST or any other time zone is made at Canada’s provincial or territorial level rather than at the federal level. This means that the time zone observed in a particular area can vary depending on the specific location within a province or territory.
For travelers, understanding AST is crucial for seamless integration into the local rhythm of life. It ensures they can fully engage with the myriad of activities and experiences these provinces offer, from the rugged coastlines and charming fishing villages to the vibrant cultural scenes of cities like Halifax and Charlottetown. The time zone’s impact extends beyond mere clock adjustments, affecting aspects such as daylight hours influencing outdoor activities and events.
The Atlantic provinces, operating under AST, are a treasure trove of experiences. Visitors can explore iconic landmarks like Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, delve into the natural wonders of Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, or immerse themselves in the UNESCO-listed landscapes of Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador. While sharing the same time zone, each province offers a distinct flavor of East Coast hospitality and adventure.
Moreover, AST’s relevance extends beyond Canada’s borders, with its observance in regions like Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Bermuda, highlighting its international significance. Adopting time zones in 1884 as part of Canada’s standardization of time zones underscores their historical importance.
In conclusion, Atlantic Standard Time is not just a measure of hours and minutes; it’s a symbol of the Atlantic provinces’ identity. It shapes the way of life in this region, from the timing of daily activities to the rhythm of cultural and natural experiences. For anyone traveling to or engaging with this part of Canada, understanding and adapting to AST is key to experiencing the full richness of these provinces. Whether for business or pleasure, a journey into the AST zone is an invitation to explore a unique and vibrant part of Canada’s diverse landscape.