On the first Monday in September, Canada celebrates Labour Day. This began when the government designated it as a workers’ holiday in 1894. In Guelph, the current mode of celebration is a Labour Day Picnic. This has not always been the case since the city’s first Labour Day celebrations took place on September 1, 1902.
Organization and Co-operation
The Labour Day parade of 1904 indicates the depth of involvement and the extent of external support that the GTLC was able to elicit from other regional locals. The weather was described as “delightful” and the Guelph “moulders, as always, made a strong showing,” but that year’s favoured group was the Bell Piano and Organ Workers with their very “natty appearance.”
Floats were provided by several companies and music was supplied by various bands. Berlin’s (Kitchener) Local No. 20 of the Amalgamated Woodworker’s International Union marched in the parade, as did 15 men from the Berlin Local Brotherhood of Painter, Paperhangers, and Decorators of North America. Unlike in 1902, women were not found in the procession. According to one account the women did not wish to be displayed in public procession. Even if they had chosen to be part of the event, they would not have been allowed to walk. Women in Guelph, as was the case across Canada, would have been required to ride.