Saturday, January 20, 2018


    One of the American bloggers I follow , occasionally mumbles about the metric system and the lack of it's use in the States. She wonders why the US is not adopting the metric system.

     The post got me thinking about Canada's change to the metric system. The change began in 1970 and it's still going on. The change was ugly but we can say that we have adopted the metric system of measurement.

     Our change happened in an awkward fashion. The plan was to phase different parts of the economy into the use of the metric system. A special ministry was set up by the government to oversee the process.

    It's difficult to make an overall change as some sections of the economy just can't change that easily.

     Our land survey system is difficult so it took a while and is still in progress. Miles are part of the legal land system. Most of the agricultural system now uses hectares.

     As  a country we automatically use Celsius and kilometers.  We buy gas by the liter.

     I was a teacher during the seventies so the education system was charged with teaching the metric system. We did a poor job. We taught conversion of the English system to the metric system. Poor plan. Don't teach conversion from the old system to the new. Teach the kids about the size of the basic units in the metric system and then how the system is based on tens.

    So now almost everything is metric. We by groceries by grams and liters  or some form of them. One problem is that some groceries are also sold in pounds and priced in both pounds and grams. This gets to be a problem.

   We had some major sieges. One old guy wouldn't change his gas pumps to liters. He fought a long fight but in the end he lost.

    Lumber is still a problem because historically the English system was used so all old buildings were in that system. Most lumber is in English, but some dimensions have changed. Plywood thickness is in millimeters but length and width are in feet.

    Somehow, we muddle along. The biggest advantage is that we fit in with the rest of the world. The worst of the change for me was listening to people complain about it.