With workers all over Canada looking forward to a day to recharge on Labour Day, let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the origin and history of this public holiday.
The Toronto Printers Union had been asking their employers for a shorter work week for over 3 years. After being repeatedly ignored, they took bold action and went on strike on March 25, 1872. They gathered 10,000 participants by the time they reached Queen’s Park while marching the streets in April.
The workers faced many challenges. Some of them lost their jobs, and some strike leaders were arrested. At the time, union activity was considered a criminal offense. However, through their persistence and belief in their cause, the strikers were able to initiate some positive changes for workers and their rights.
- Prime Minister John A. Macdonald passed the Trade Unions Act. This legalized and protected union activity.
- On 23 July 1894, the government of Prime Minister John Thompson passed a law that made Labour Day official.
Labour Day is celebrated every year on the first Monday of September, both in Canada and the United States. Labour Day has been a statutory holiday in Canada since 1894. Most people recognize this day as a point marking summer coming to an end, and spend their time doing fun and leisurely activities.
You can check out Tourism Calgary to learn about events and things you can do in Calgary over the long weekend.
Happy Labour Day and enjoy the long weekend!
Word of the day:
Labour means very hard work.
It is spelled “labor” in American English, and “labour” in Commonwealth countries including Canada.