Did you know that the first Monday in September is a statutory holiday in Canada which we call Labour Day?
As a newcomer to Canada you may be unfamiliar with our public holidays and why we celebrate certain days. I know that most of the stat holidays in Canada differ from the ones in my home country. I think it is a great idea to learn a little bit more about each one of those stat holidays in Canada to be able to understand why Canadians celebrate them − especially because it may help you with your future citizenship test!
Quick history of Labour Day
Canadians have celebrated Labour Day since 1894; it originated in Victoria era. Traditionally, this public holiday was an occasion for workers to campaign for their rights during parades and picnics organized by trade unions. It often included games, speeches, competitions, and it was an occasion for people to get together and celebrate working-class solidarity. Since the Second World War, there has been less parades organized, that being said, Labour Day remains a statutory holiday in Canada and people still enjoy the festivities.
How we celebrate now?
Nowadays, Labour Day festivities are quite different. There aren’t as many parades or picnics organized by trade workers, although in Newfoundland & Labrador, the District Labour Councils generally hold events in their areas. As with so many things this year, Labour Day festivities are scaled back because of physical distancing requirements. The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour will instead host a livestreamed event on their Facebook page.
However, many people use this day as an excuse for last summer camping trip or enjoying the time with friends and family. For children and teenagers, it means the last moments before returning to school for the new academic year. Practically speaking, it is our last hooray before the summer is over, so we have to make it count!
What about businesses?
Labour Day being a public holiday means that most of the businesses are closed. Schools and other educational establishments remain closed, as well as any public offices. Many public transport services run to a reduced service (like during Sundays). If you are planning to visit somebody at the Association for New Canadians, make sure to schedule your appointment for other days in the week, because we will be closed on Monday.
Festivities in St. John’s
Even during COVID-19 you can still find things to do during this long weekend.
There is a Free Yoga on the Lawn at Government House on Monday the 7th or an Open Mic event with Vickie Morgan at the Ship.
You can also go to a Petting Barn at Lester’s Farm Chalet or enjoy Memorial University Botanical Garden. And if the weather permits, you should go for a few hikes on our East Coast Trail before the snow falls.
Make those few last weeks of the summer count!
Have a gorgeous Labour Day Weekend!