rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Activist Communiqué: Directory of May Day events across Canada and live updates

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

May Day, what a wonderful day to call in sick!

Why? Because cities across Canada are hosting May Day events on May 1, 2012 and have heeded the energy of the Occupy movement calling for a general strike on International Worker's Day -- and if not a general strike in your city, at least a show of support for labour and social justice movements across Canada.

International Workers' Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labour movement and left-wing movements. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries such as Canada and the United States. But don't let that stop you from participating in your city's May Day festivities.

Find a directory of May Day events further below, and keep up with the latest on twitter in our Twitter widget.


Here is a basic wiki-history lesson: International Workers' Day is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when, after an unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they dispersed a public meeting, Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight hour workday, killing several demonstrators and resulting in the deaths of several police officers, largely from friendly fire.

In 1889, the first congress of the Second International, meeting in Paris for the centennial of the French Revolution and the Exposition Universelle, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne, called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International's second congress in 1891.

Subsequently, the May Day Riots of 1894 occurred. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on "all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace." The congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers."

For May Day, an informal General Strike has been called: No Work. No School. No Shopping. No Banking. No Housework.

"Most Torontonians are sick and could use a day off," explained Lana Goldberg of Occupy Toronto.

"People are suffering with Harperitis and have serious headaches from Fordotrophy, which makes it really hard to work and make a living. They should call in sick on May 1st and come to the rally and march. A nice day in the sun will help," she said.

If you need help with creative excuses to call in sick, check out this article: 20 Excuses for Playing Hooky on May Day, including:

3.Christian Feast Day: More proof that religion can be useful for something. This works for both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches alike. Simply tell your boss or supervisor that you must observe Christian Feast Day.

7.The Ferris Bueller: This is a variation on Ferris Bueller's tactic for getting Sloan out of school. Enlist a friend to call your place of work with news of a friend's death or ill health. Be sure to call the supervisor or boss's number and sound very concerned. Also, rehearse.

19.Puppy's sick: Nothing is more heart-wrenching than a sick pet. Use this to your advantage by telling the boss that your dog, cat, parakeet, hamster, so forth, is sick and needs to go to the veterinarian's office. Instant empathy from the suits and no questions asked.

Now that you have your game on, all ready to not participate in the capitalist system, here is a list of Canadian cities hosting May Day events and/or Occupy actions.

Know that 125 cities in America are in solidarity with you!


--Occupy Vancouver General Assembly

Tuesday May 1, 2012

1:00 pm
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street

For more information, please see here.

--May Day 2012 Power to the 99% Uniting Local and International Struggles

Tuesday May 1, 2012

3:00 pm
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street

For more information, please see here.


Nanaimo, BC:

--May Day celebrations in Nanaimo B.C.

Tuesday May 1, 2012

11:00 am rally
Diana Krall Plaza

--Occupy Nanaimo May Day General Assembly (GA)

Tuesday May 1, 2012
3:00 pm until 5:00 pm
Diana Krall Plaza

For more information, please click here.


Lethbridge, Alberta

March of Unions & Picnic-in-the-Park

Saturday May 5, 2012
12:00 pm until 4:00 p.m. (Picnic)
Lethbridge's Galt Gardens, 502 1 Street South

For more information, please see here.



Edmonton May Day March

Tuesday May 1, 2012

5:30 pm
Corbett Hall Park (82 Avenue and 112 Street)
Then marching to the end of Steel Park (86 Ave and 103 St).

For more information, please see here.



May Day 2012: "Prosperity, not Austerity!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
5:30 pm until 7:00 pm
-March begins at 6:00 pm
510 Main St., Winnipeg

For more information, please see here.



May Day 2012: Stop Harper, Rally and March

Tuesday May 1, 2012

5:30 pm
Windsor City Hall
400 City Hall Sq E

For more information, please visit here.


Toronto :

--Occupy Toronto: Chess Game

Tuesday May 1, 2012

11:00 am start
Will be in the downtown core, more details TBA.

--Occupy Gardens: Garden Party Potluck

Tuesday May 1, 2012

2:00 pm
Queens Park
For more information, please click here.

--#May1TO: Rally, food and march

Tuesday May 1, 2012

4:00 pm
Nathan Phillips Square
March at 5:00 pm to Alexandra Park.

--Cultural Celebration
7:00 pm, Alexandra Park

*All actions organized autonomously or in coalitions, and posted here in solidarity. Please note that plans may change radically and may not be updated here. Please check links above for most up to date information.*

--24 hour re-occupation: "Occupy the Heart of the Beast"
Tuesday May 1, 2012 until Wednesday May 2, 2012

9:00 pm
Departs from Alexandra Park to march to occupation site.

For more details, please see here. For more information, please see here.

Re-occupation schedule of events for the night:
11:00 pm until sunrise - film screenings
6:30 am - meditations
7:00 am - yoga
8:00 am - breakfast, art workshop
10:00 am - march leaves for Barrick Gold AGM
1:00 pm until 5:00 pm - free skule workshops
5:00 pm until 7:00 pm - General Assembly (90% consensus, safe space policy in effect)
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm - Clean up

Last Occupy Toronto GA before May Day's 24 hour re-occupation is tonight at 25 Cecil Street at 7:00 pm (rain location from Cloud Gardens Park)



--May Day: Solidarity Against Austerity march

Tuesday May 1, 2012
11:30 am start at Confederation Park, then march to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) at Wellington and Elgin for 12:00 pm noon.

2:00 pm until 3:15 pm Teach - In. Please see the schedule here.

Click here for more information, please click here.

--Occupy ParliamentMay 5, 2012May 5, 2012

1:00 pm until 4:00 pm
Parliament Hill
111 Wellington St, Ottawa

For more information, please see here.



--1er Mai Anticapitaliste 2012 / Anti-capitalist May Day (Montréal)

Tuesday May 1, 2012

4:30 pm until 11:30 pm
corner Saint-Antoine & Gosford,
Métro Champ-de-Mars

For more information, please click here:

--Spectacle anticapitaliste du 1er mai

Tuesday May 1, 2012

7:00 pm until 11:30 pm
Cabaret du Mile-End
5240 avenue du Parc,

For more information, please see here.

--Occupy Montreal

May 12, 2012

12:00 pm noon
Places du Peuple
Metro Square Victoria

For more information, please see here.



Halifax General Strike

Tuesday May 1, 2012
12:00 pm noon until 11:30 pm
Halifax Grand Parade

For more information, please see here.


St. John's, Newfoundland

Occupy May Day, Harbourside Park

Tuesday May 1, 2012

12:30 pm
Harbourside Park

For more information, please see here.

















Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.