For some, today is a day that is met with a degree of sorrow, as school starts tomorrow for students all over Canada. For others, today is a day to rejoice! Its Labour Day, and for most workers across the country, that means an additional day off work.
Of course, the subject of being “off work” may be a touchy one for the large number of Canadians who are without employment at this time due to the recession. However, hard working citizens all throughout the nation should still find ways to enjoy their days today. And why not? You deserve an extra day free of labour!
But do you know who we owe this long weekend to? According to Wikipedia.org, “The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to April 14, 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25.”
Many of these unions organized marches and demonstrations in support of having Parliament pass a law to shorten the work week. This lead to a number of arrests of union leaders even though laws making union activity illegal were outdated at this time and were even already abolished in places like Great Britain. These arrests were protested by another demonstration on September 3.
By June of the following year, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald passed the Trade Union Act to prevent anti-union laws. It wasnt until July 23, 1894, however, that Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson made Labour Day an official holiday to be held in September, perhaps commemorating the demonstration of the arrests.
Today, Labour Day is celebrated through parades, picnics and sometimes fireworks displays and public art events. For most Canadians, it is highly regarded as the Monday of the last long weekend of the summer. For students, it is literally the last day of summer as school often starts the next day.
Just make sure you dont wear white to school! For some reason, an old adage considers it taboo to wear white after Labour Day. As Wikipedia tells us, “The explanations for this tradition range from the fact that white clothes are worse protection against cold weather in the winter to the fact that the rule was intended as a status symbol for new members of the middle class in the late 19th century and early 20th century.”
So, no matter what you do or what you wear, be sure to enjoy Labour Day today. Youve earned it Canada!