The year 2019 marked the 125th anniversary of Labour Day being recognized as a statutory holiday in Canada. This long weekend that includes the first Monday in September is typically celebrated with end-of-summer barbecues or pool parties. However, Labour Day’s origins are found in the nineteenth-century union movement.
Average number of participants expected at the annual Labour Day Parade in Toronto, the site of the first unofficial Labour Day events.
Number of Canadian cities that hosted Labour Day-related events before it was designated a statutory holiday: Toronto, Hamilton, Oshawa, Montreal, St. Catharines, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, and London.
The year the government of Prime Minister John Thompson designated Labour Day a statutory holiday. Early Labour Day events involved parades — reminders of the marches for workers’ rights — as well as games, picnics, speeches, and even church services.
Length in kilometres of the 1894 Labour Day parade in Winnipeg.
Help keep Canada’s stories strong and free
The importance of understanding ourselves by examining our history is an anchoring belief of Canada's History Society. We highlight our nation’s diverse past by telling stories that illuminate the people, places, and events that unite us as Canadians, and by making those stories accessible to everyone through our free online content.
Canada’s History is a registered charity that depends on contributions from readers like you to ensure students and citizens of all ages can continue being inspired and informed by our country’s fascinating stories. Please donate to Canada’s History today. Thank you!