By: Surjit Flora
Just like our neighbours to the south, Canadians also celebrate Labour Day.
Celebrated on the first Monday in September since the 1880s, Labour Day in Canada can be traced to a worker’s strike that took place in Apr. 1872.
The Toronto Typographical Union was at the center of the Toronto Trades Assembly’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. Typographical Union workers, who were breaking the law at the time by merely being members of a trade union, went on strike to campaign for a nine-hour workday, only to witness two dozen union leaders being imprisoned.
A parade was staged to show support for the union’s workers as well as its imprisoned leaders. Another procession was scheduled for September, and Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. McDonald eventually promised to repeal Canada’s anti-union laws.
Initially celebrated in the spring, Canadian Labour Day is now celebrated on the same day as Labor Day in the United States. Like the U.S. Labour Day, post offices and many businesses are closed on Labour Day, as are schools and other educational establishments.
The similarities between the two holidays don’t end there, as many Canadians take advantage of the Labour Day weekend to enjoy one last summer getaway or enjoy a picnic or barbecue with family and friends.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these kinds of fulfilled activities might not take place. Fairs, festivals, and fireworks displays that were common throughout the country on Labour Day weekend might not be part of this year’s holiday to enjoy with family and loved ones.
Another and likely lesser-known similarity between American Labor Day and Canadian Labour Day is football plays in both countries. Labor Day weekend in the U.S. is typically the opening weekend for many of the nation’s college football teams.
In Canada, the Labour Day Classic is played over the Labour Day weekend and features the Canadian Football League’s rivals squaring off against one another. The competing teams do not change from year to year, making this a Labour Day tradition Canadian football fans much enjoy annually.
But the outbreak of COVID-19, which as of Sep. 2 has killed more than 857,000 people globally, has affected sporting events across the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide exceeding 25.7 million, major sporting events have been cancelled or postponed.
First, Labor Day has always been the last day of the Canadian National Exhibition, but due to the coronavirus, this year’s event was cancelled.
The CNE executive director said Wednesday as CNE reporting a loss of $6 million after cancelling this year’s fair, casting the future of the event into doubt as well.
Also, the CNE director said that the government need to steps in to support, as well as CNE can win a lease or licensing concession from the City of Toronto; the historic fair may not be operational after 2021-if it cannot open next year due to COVID-19, there may be no future at all.
During the three days of the Labor Day weekend, the Canadian International Air Show drove the sky over Lake Ontario, and many people watched it in the open-air market of the exhibition center, but unfortunately, as the director said future event into the doubt so we will never see and enjoy funfair festival again forever and we could not see these colors and fireworks at night.
Also, the London Marathon was originally scheduled to be held on April 26 but has been postponed to October 4.
The Boston Marathon, initially scheduled for Apr. 20 and later postponed for five months, has been postponed for the first time in its 124-year history.
The International Olympic Committee and Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe have concluded the Tokyo 2020 Olympics must be postponed. The event will now take place next year from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.
Will we get back to a sense of normalcy with our sporting and cultural events? Hopefully, but this Labour Day, we will be acknowledging a quite different kind of holiday.