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Born in Kircaldy, Scotland, Sir Sandford Fleming began working for an engineer at age 14. It was at that time he learned to design and build harbours and waterworks and surveyed for the railway.

At the age of 18 in 1845, Sir Sandford arrived in Canada. He spent his first summer in Canada at the home of a friend in Peterborough – Dr. John Hutchison.


Sir Sandford worked in Peterborough, surveying until 1849 when he became a fully qualified engineer. It was during this time Sir Sandford drew and printed the first map of Peterborough.

In 1863, Sir Sandford headed up plans for the Intercolonial Railway, connecting New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to Upper and Lower Canada. Much of the surveying was done by snowshoes and dogsled over rugged terrain.


Sir Sandford Fleming was a founding member of the Royal Canadian Institute. He was Chancellor of Queen’s University for 35 years and received honorary degrees from Queen’s, the University of Toronto and St. Andrew’s University in Scotland.

He was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1887 and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1897.

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