Monday, September 6, 2010

My Town Monday: Happy Labor Day!

In Canada, in 1872, the Toronto Typographical Union went on strike against The Globe newspaper for a 54-hour work-week. Ten thousand marched in Toronto to Queen's Park in support of the strikers. Due to some crazy laws still hanging around, about twenty-four leaders from this union were arrested for "conspiracy." To protest these arrests, a bunch of unions marched in Ottawa. Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald stepped up to the plate and promised to get rid of the antiquated anti-labor laws. Soon after this, all unions were demanding 54-hour work weeks.

In the United States, the first Labor Day was planned by the Central Labor Union and was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. The Knights of Labor staged the first Labor Day parade (which was similar to the Toronto parade ). The slogan: "Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest." This refers back to the eight-hour-day movement during the Industrian Revolution in Britain.

Oh, and a little American trivia: the Navy ceases wearing their white uniforms on Labor Day and begins wearing Navy blue uniforms. Isn't there a fashion rule about not wearing white after Labor Day? it must come from this.

In France, Labor Day (La Fete du Muguet or La Fete du Travail--please excuse the lack of accent marks) is celebrated on May 1. It's a public holiday in honor of workers' rights. On this day, people often give lily of the valley or dogrose flowers to those they love.

In St. Andrews, Scotland, students run into the freezing cold North Sea at sunrise on May 1, which is when Labor Day is celebrated.

At the Summy house, in honor of all those who have marched and striked and persevered for fair laws for workers, I will attempt to do as little as possible on this fine Labor Day. With Scotland in mind, I will jump in my pool. I will ask Mr. Summy to follow France's lead and bring me some pretty cut flowers. All this, because I am a hard worker.

Please check out the links to the other My Town Monday posts on the official My Town Monday blog.

Happy Labor Day one and all!


  1. I love that tidbit about the navy. Now I can violate the rule given that it isn't dictated by some fashionista or something.

  2. I remember my mother putting away her white shoes on labor day!

    We are working today, since our gallery is in a national park.

    Enjoy your day off!

  3. Mac and Cheese: We will break the rules together!

    Debra: May your working labor day go well!

    Fredamans: Back at you. Love the photos on your blog!

  4. Enjoy the pool and fleurs--sounds divine. (I seem to take less time off working for myself than I did working for others.) Happy day, everyone!

  5. Tricia: i know exactly what you mean. My husband, who owns his own company, is off at work as we speak. ;)

  6. I love your Labor Day plans! I hope Mr. Summy came through with the flowers.

  7. in mosquito country, the wearing of white is mandatory... they are attracted to dark colors....

  8. Evidently I'm willing to take fashion advice from the armed services. I was wearing my white shorts on Friday, thinking, this is probably my last chance this year...

  9. Great plans!

    This is kind of random (okay, extremely random), but as you are Canadian born, I was just wondering do you ever find yourself flipping between the labor/labour spellings?

    I've never lived in Canada, but I work for a company where I edit materials for both US and Canadian clients. I find when I edit a lot of Canadian reports and then move on to a US client, I have to fight to keep from adding extra vowels to words like labor or orthopedics. After Canadian spelling, the words look naked and indecent without additional letters. But I can switch from US to Canadian editing more easily.

    Or maybe I'm just weird.

  10. I spent Labour Day working VERY VERY hard, but then I'm going to balance it out by not working hard again until NEXT Labour Day.

  11. Fascinating history! A late Happy Labor Day to you too. Good to see you relaxing. You deserve it.


Comments are always welcome!