The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. The aim of the demonstration was to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union, who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day.
At this time, trade unions were still illegal and striking was seen as a criminal conspiracy to disrupt trade. However, there was enormous public support for the demonstration, which took the form of a parade, and the authorities could no longer deny the important role that the trade unions had to play in the emerging Canadian society.
A few months later, a similar ‘parade’ was organized in Ottawa and passed the house of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John MacDonald. Later in the day, he appeared before the gathering and promised to repeal all Canadian laws against trade unions. This happened in the same year and eventually led to the founding of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1883.
Labour Day was originally celebrated in the spring but it was moved to the fall after 1894.
Happy Labour Day Monday!
Story source: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/labour-day
Image source: https://www.thestar.com/