LAOL is setting up a small information table complete with artifacts and information on Guelph's Labour/Working Class/Industrial History. We will have a Crowe's Foundry Dog Nutcracker, a Taylor-Forbes sad iron and various photos of employees at local factories. Come visit and see what LAOL is all about. Artifacts, stories and donations are always welcome.

May 25 - Oct 26Tytler Public SchoolGuelph, ON, Canada
1 person interested

May Day in Guelph

Today is May Day. Around the world, works celebrate the day with parades. Toronto, Hamilton and Sudbury hosted large gatherings in the 1930s. Ironically, during this period, Guelph, the founding city of the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) – we were the host city (or barn) to the event in 1921, attended by such luminaries as Tim Buck, John Boychuk, Florence Custance and Bill Moriarty- had but one. In fact, Socialists has been active in Guelph during the 1900s.... They hosted the “real Eugene V Debs” in 1906. In 1916, apparently, a Eugene Debs lookalike, “Comrade Smith,” operated out of the King Edward Barbershop. He distributed literature and, in true barbershop form, the patrons and staff discussed every topic possible.

The 1920s

During the 1920s, the CPC hosted several speakers, including Beckie Buhay. She gave a well-attended talk on the conditions of miners in Nova Scotia. In her speech she made mention of James Bryson McLachlan – a fierce proponent of communism/socialism and the rights of Cape Breton miners. She also discussed war and what it meant – profits.
However, in Guelph, May Days were not marked by a parade. In fact, in 1930, the Guelph Mercury wrote this of the city’s “radicals.”
“Guelph remains peaceful and serene, the upholders of Marxian doctrine evidently quite content to remain passive.”
The author remarked Guelph had no Workers’ May Day celebration.

The 1935 May Day Parade

This remained valid until 1935. In that year, the Guelph Socialists marched to mark the occasion. The parade began at Lyon Park on York Road and ended up at a platform raised at Market Square, near city Hall. However, the entire exercise was conducted “with complete decorum.” The radicals were quiet, orderly and, after the speeches, walked up Wyndham Street and dispersed quietly.”
In the evening, some 150 returned to hear various speeches. The paper only notes that 3 or 4 spoke, including a woman speaker. No names are provided, just an indication, the topics were the usual ones against war and pro-workers and their rights.

It is unknown whether any other May Day parade took place. The papers do not mention, however, pages are missing making the matter unclear.

For information on the origins of May Day follow this link:…/The-Origins-And-Aftermath-….

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Tomorrow is the Workers' holiday - May Day. In the 1930s, Guelph Socialists, an active group since the early 1900s - even hosting Eugene Debs in February 1906, celebrated the day with a small parade followed by meetings in the evening. More on this tomorrow.

More than 80 years ago, the Coal miners at Corbin BC went out on strike against working conditions and the firing of a union member. This is the story of what happened.…/Black-Wednesday-Miners-Wives-And-the…

In 1935, coal miners in Corbin went on strike. Their wives and daughters helped form pickets. On Wednesday, April 17, 1935, they faced off against the mine owner's security forces. The result became known as Black Wednesday.

Today is The Day of Mourning. Show your respect for workers who lost their lives on the job by showing up to a local event.

The second in the series is one miner's wives beginning with a general overlook to be followed tomorrow by the "Big Strike: in Ladysmith in 1913 and later by Corbin, Flin Flon and Bienfait-Estevan.…/Miners-Wives-Standing-Up-Against-The…

Women have long played a strong and significant role in the labour movement. In Canada, wives, sisters, daughters, walked picket lines. In Mining Towns they often stood in front of their husbands on the line and paid the price. The next 2 articles tell some of their stories.

Recently publishing a series of article on HubPages on Women in the Canadian Labour Movement. First one is on Hannah Clegg, found here:…/Women-in-the-Canadian-Labour-Movement

Women have always played a strong role in the Canadian Labour Movement. As wives they supported their husbands. As workers they took part in strikes. As union organizers, they helped workers organize

Just posted this article on the LAOL website.…/The-Working-Class-In-W…

Guelph has several hills. These include the ones down which Eramosa Road and Gordon Street run. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, children and adults took to sleighing or tobogganing. As with curling and skating, the upper echelons formed groups. Guelph had its own formal association – the Sno...

This is the third in a series on Guelph workers in Winter. It provides a glimpse at hockey. To view follow this link…/The-Working-Class-In-W…

While hockey was a gentleman’s game, hockey was not. It did not even pretend to be. Guelph workers joined Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) students, banker and retail employees as well as those working in various other crafts and trades to battle it out on the ice. In simple team uniforms, they ...

Have posted another blog on the LAOL website. It is on curling and pleasure skating. The next one is on hockey in Guelph
The link is here.…/The-Working-Class-In-W…

Curling Curling was a gentleman’s game. Originally, local teams played on the natural ice of rivers and ponds. Above Goldie’s Mill was a favourite spot. Near Holidays’ brewery and above Alan’s Dam were two others. The first curling game took place in 1827 with William Dunlap on the ice. Late...

I have just added a Blog on the LAOL website. Check it out here:…/The-Working-Class-In-Winte…

Winter In Guelph Winter meant more than a change in the weather for Guelph’s working class. Many workers found themselves receiving “winter wages.” In fact, one former Guelph council member, Hamilton, on February 17, 1843, boasted he was able to offer cheaper goods because of this. The laws of...

Below is an image of LAOL Tee Shirts. They are also available in black with green lettering. If you are interested in purchasing one, contact me via Facebook.

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Labouring All Our Lives

Today is Labour Day. Enjoy yourselves, but take the time to note the origins of the day and the sacrifices workers make each and every day. While many improvements have occurred over the years - mainly the result of Unions pushing for safer working conditions, better wages and shorter hours - much remains to be done.
Accidents still happen and, for some peculiar reason, an accident that occurs on the job as a result of improper training, poor management or unsafe conditions is not MURDER but an Accident. As long as a worker's life is not valued, fatalities will continue to happen on the job. think about this the next time you hear someone bashing unions and calling for a free market system.

Following WWI Labour Day celebrations became Armistice celebrations. The photos below all date from ca 1918 Armistice celebrations.

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Labour Day is fast approaching. LAOL will be at the Labour Day Picnic on Monday, September 4 at Riverside Park. We hope to include several early day Labour Day photos/pictures. Below are several from early celebrations in 1902 (the first) and the rest are from 1904.All courtesy of the Guelph Civic Museum

LAOL will be appearing at the Guelph and District Labour Council's Labour Day Picnic.We will have a small display and information table. We are also going to be selling our Tee-shirts

Mon 12:00 PM EDTRiverside ParkGuelph, ON, Canada
9 people went

Labour Day is fast approaching - September 4th. LAOL will be at Riverside Park.Guelph with their display. Will include a few new Guelph artifacts - including, hopefully, an IMICO nutcracker borrowed from a friend, some ads from Woods (1948) and Raymonds (1911) a blotter from the Guelph Paper Box company (date unknown) and an instructions manual - albeit a little bit worn, for Raymond Sewing Machines (1907). Below is a photo of the City's First Labour Day Parade in 1902 courtesy of the Guelph Civic Museum.

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