Toronto Ontario - A historical plaque that commemorated one of Sir Sandford Fleming's great achievements is gone and almost certainly won't be replaced.
Unless someone steps up with a donation of $5,000, the Ontario Heritage Trust, which is responsible for 1,278 historical plaques across the province, says it doesn't have the money for another.
Back in 2011, we wrote about a plaque that went missing from the former location of a building on Berti Street where Fleming first laid out his concept for the standard time measurement system.
Fleming, an engineer who helped build the transcontinental railway that stitched Canada together, understood the need for a common model of time measurement that ensured trains were more likely to run on time.
He proposed a 24-hour clock, a model that was soon adopted around the world and remains the global standard for time measurement.
A plaque marking it was put up on the side of the building where he first made his proposal to the Canadian Institute.
When it was demolished, the plaque ended up in an ignominious location, next to the parking garage for co-op housing built on the site.
We first contacted the Ontario Heritage Trust in June 2011, to ask if it would be replaced.
At the time, we were told another would go up as soon as possible, but budget constraints might delay it.
Bruce Gates, who first told us about it, recently wrote to us again to say the plaque has yet to reappear.
That sent us back to the trust, which replied that it can't afford to replace it.
Kimberly Murphy, a senior marketing and communications specialist with the trust, emailed to say, "it's unfortunate when plaques go missing. Sometimes they are misplaced or relocated by property owners, sometimes they are damaged by vehicles, and in other instances they suffer from vandalism. Unfortunately, plaques are also often targeted by thieves who mistakenly assume the aluminum plaques are made from a more valuable material. In this case, moving the Standard Time plaque from its previous location made it more vulnerable to theft. The plaque was removed by the owner of the property and reinstalled on a post on the east side of Berti Street. Since its inception in 1956, the Trust has unveiled 1,278 plaques. At any given time a large number are missing/stolen or were taken down due to severe damage. We would like to replace all missing plaques, but the Trust has no core funding for this activity. As a non-profit agency, over 65 percent of Trust revenue is from donations, grants, and sponsorships. We rely on external funding to support 100 percent of our project costs. As funds are identified and/or raised for a particular topic by our funding partners, the Trust is able to replace missing plaques. Each new/replacement plaque requires $5,000 to cover the costs of manufacture and installation. The Trust would be pleased to work with partners in the community to replace the plaque to this provincially significant topic and we encourage interested parties to contact us for more information on how to help us achieve that goal."