Happy Labour Day

A Labour Day Parade in Toronto in the early 1900s Happy Labour Day!

Wikipedia tells me that this holiday is celebrated at many different points of the year depending on which country you live in. I wasn’t previously aware of this as the only two countries I’ve lived in, Canada and the United States, both celebrate it on the same day each year.

Labour Day was created in Toronto on April 15, 1872 when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant march for worker’s rights. The protestors at that march were trying to persuade the authorities to release twenty four of the leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union. All of them had been incarcerated for going on strike in an attempt to limit their working hours to nine per day.

School often starts the day after Labour Day, so many families try to pack in as much summer fun before then as they can. My family often hosted and/or attended barbecues on this weekend when I was growing up. I actually didn’t know the origins of this holiday until I was in college.

Post offices, government buildings, and some private businesses are closed on Labour Day. Restaurants and retail stores generally remain open here in Ontario, but I prefer not to patronize them on this holiday. Many more workers should have this day off than currently do in my opinion, so I try to avoid creating any more incentives for non-essential businesses to remain open today.

Holidays can have multiple meanings. For me, Labour Day is simultaneously about enjoying a three-day weekend and standing in solidarity with all workers who are fighting for better working conditions and fair wages.

I will be resting today but will return tomorrow with my usual Top Ten Tuesday post.

 

 

8 Responses to Happy Labour Day

  1. “Many more workers should have this day off than currently do in my opinion, so I try to avoid creating any more incentives for non-essential businesses to remain open today.”

    That is how I feel too. Here in the U.S., Labour Day has become an excuse for sales “extravaganza” and extra work, not less. Labourers should not only have the day off, they should have it with pay.

  2. Nice to know the history! Nine hours per day; no doubt that was better but it’s sobering to think that was considered “good.” You’re right we still have much to improve; I think our whole attitude to holidays is wrong, honestly.

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