Categorized | Holidays & Occurrences

Labour Day – in a South Asian way

Posted on 12 September 2009 by .

It was all about the celebration of workers’ solidarity. Well I am talking about Labour Day. It originally gave workers the chance to campaign for better working conditions or pay. Most workers, public or private, are entitled to take statutory holidays off with regular pay on this day. Though some businesses remain open on holidays, such as medical clinics and some stores, restaurants, and tourist attractions, it is also the time of the year again, when schools reopen and people return from vacation.

What Happens on Labour Day?

Traditionally, this day was celebrated to campaign and celebrate workers’ rights by parades and picnics organized by trade unions. Though these still play a major role on Labour Day, many people today, take it as an opportunity to celebrate a long weekend with their friends and families. People head up north to cottages or campsites or their country cottages. For professionals, it is an opportunity before the beginning of the year to realize and to prepare them for back to work after what could be slow summer for many. For teenagers and other students, the Labour Day weekend is the last chance to party.


The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights.

The objective behind this demonstration was to release those twenty four leaders of the

Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. Striking was considered as a crime and Trade Unions were considered illegal, in those days.

A few months later, a similar parade was organized in Ottawa. Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John Macdonald was the one who promised to repeal all Canadian laws against trade unions. This led to the founding of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1883 and Labour Day was made an official holiday in Canada on July 23, 1894.

The South Asian Way:

“Whatever one does, it is definitely a precious opportunity to spend quality time together with your family and friends before the unending streak of work and the start of the academic year,” says Madina Madda, student.

“I do respect the movement that was started in Wellington and I also take part in fairs sometimes. But what I really enjoy on this day is the fireworks. They are amazing,” says Shreya Shah, Mehendi Designer on Dundas.

Author: Staff Writer

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