Sandford Fleming, standing at centre, with members of an ocean to ocean expedition through Canada in 1872
Beaver stamp, designed by Sandford Fleming and issued on April 23, 1851
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As a talented surveyor, engineer and businessman, Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915) contributed to a remarkable number of Canadian cultural milestones, including the design of Canada's first postage stamp in 1851. In 1868, Fleming was appointed Chief Engineer of the Intercolonial Railway. When the government's ambition shifted to a transcontinental route, Fleming was promoted by order-in-council to Engineer-in-Chief of the Canadian Pacific Railway survey. A separate order-in-council in May 1871 contained Fleming's survey plan, together with a list of individuals who would make up the survey party. Over a decade later, Fleming championed another grand scheme -- no less than a plan for the international standardization of time. This plan culminated in the Prime Meridian Conference held in Washington, D.C., in October 1884. An order-in-council passed in May 1883 appointed Fleming as Canada's representative to the conference.