In over 80 countries May Day, or International Worker's Day is an official holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world. Organizers in cities across Canada have planned events that we've compiled for our readers below. Click on the links for more info.
But first...here's a brief look back at how it all started:
May Day began in the U.S. as a response to the abuse of state power -- as an international act of solidarity and camaraderie amongst working people everywhere.
On May 1, 1886, workers across North America participated in a general strike to demand recognition of the eight-hour workday. In Chicago, demonstrators also took up the cause of workers at a local farm equipment factory who had been locked out for participating in union activities. In the following days, a number of demonstrators and police officers were killed in what came to be known as the Haymarket Affair. The circumstances surrounding the Haymarket Affair led to international outrage. In 1894, May 1 became the official commemorative holiday for workers across North America.
For many Canadians May Day suffers from relative anonymity when compared with Labour Day. Nevertheless, working people in Canada continued the struggle to have May Day recognized as an official holiday. Coal miners in Cape Breton, forestry workers in Alberta and textile workers in Toronto used May Day as an opportunity to advance the cause of workers.
On May Day 1935, 15,000 unemployed workers in B.C. marched and rode-the-rails "On-to-Ottawa Trek" to protest the use of work camps that were undermining the labour market.
The power of May Day lies in the one-day strike to show the solidarity and strength of workers. In that tradition, here's a list of May Day events taking place across the country:
- Toronto's 24th Annual Socialist May Day Celebration - May 1, 2010 7 p.m.
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