Published: Aug 31, 2022

While everyone enjoys a national holiday, few of us actually know the history of Labour Day. So, just in case you were wondering, here’s an overview of the last long weekend of summer.


In 1869, print shop workers in Ontario, like those who typeset the newspapers, worked 12-hour days. That was the standard for many employees in many different industries. That year, the printers’ union requested the employers of its members to reduce the work week to 58 hours; a bold, but unsuccessful move.

Undeterred, workers in Hamilton, Ontario spawned the “Nine Hour Movement,” which spread to Toronto. The Toronto Typographical Union continued the cause, and by 1872, was threatening to strike. Since the long days were commonplace, employers considered the request for a shorter work week absurd. With employers unwilling to even consider the request, the printers went on strike on 25 March 1872.

Replacement workers were hired from nearby small towns. The publisher of The Globe newspaper suggested the union’s actions were conspiracy and pursued legal action. Conspiracy or not, at the time, union activity was illegal in Canada and the strike committee of 24 were all put in jail.

However, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald had been watching the goings on, and The Globe’s publisher was an old political rival of Macdonald. The Prime Minister quickly had the Trade Unions Act passed and had the workers released, and since1894 “Labour Day” has been an official holiday.

There you have it. Enjoy the long weekend!


Ameri-Can Logistics Ltd. is a trucking company servicing shipping ports, railroad depots, and communities throughout North America. Operating 24/7/365 with continuous dispatch services, businesses have relied on Ameri-Can to distribute their products to buyers in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, for three decades.

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