Labour Day

A look at Labour Day in Canada “by the numbers.”

Written by Henrietta Roi

Posted July 15, 2019

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.

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This article originally appeared in the August-September 2019 issue of Canada’s History.

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