History of Canadian Labour Day

The origins of Labour day in Canada can be traced back to a printer’s revolt in 1872 in Toronto, when labourers tried to establish a maximum 54-hour work week. At that time, any union activity was considered illegal and the organizers were jailed. Protest marches of over 10,000 formed in response. This eventually led to the Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald repealing the anti-union laws and arranging the release of the organizers as well.

The parades held in support of the Nine-Hour Movement and the printers’ strike led to an annual celebration. The date was adopted in Canada in 1894 by the government of Prime Minister John Thompson.

How is Labour Day celebrated?

While some Labour Day parades and picnics are organized by unions, most Canadians simply regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, which traditionally begin their new year the day after.

A traditional Labour Day event in Canada is the Labour Day Classic, a Canadian Football League event where rivals play on Labour Day weekend.

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