This French island near Canada is the first place in North America to celebrate the New Year
You might not know it, but there is actually a French archipelago near Canada, and its unique time zone means it’s the first place in North America to ring in the New Year.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a group of eight islands just off the south coast of Newfoundland, about 25 kilometers – a 90-minute ferry ride – from Canada, but it’s not part of the country. The collection of the islands is in fact an overseas collectivity of France.
If you are traveling to Saint Pierre and Miquelon from Canada and other countries, you must go through customs to enter, so be sure to bring your passport.
There the euro is used and the cars have European number plates.
Newfoundland, the territory’s closest neighbor, has a single time zone – 30 minutes ahead of Atlantic time – just like St. Pierre and Miquelon.
It’s 30 minutes ahead of Newfoundland, so when it’s 9am in Newfoundland, it’s 9:30 am in Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
This means that the French Archipelago is the first place in North America to celebrate New Year’s Day, and people there ring the New Year 30 minutes before the people of Newfoundland.
Another quirk is the territory’s time zone. When traveling to St. Pierre and Miquelon from the location closest to Newfoundland, you have to get west by ferry, so this is one of the few time zones where you have to change your time when traveling west!