Labour Day is a public holiday in Canada that is celebrated annually on the first Monday of September. The general population are given the day off with schools and most businesses being closed. Whilst originally it was a day that gave workers the opportunity to campaign for better working conditions or pay, nowadays, it’s more commonly thought of as a long weekend that marks the end of summer. Labour Day 2019 falls on Monday 2nd September.

On April 1872, the Toronto Trades Assembly gathered to demonstrate against the imprisonment of 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union. At this time, with trade unions being illegal and striking considered a conspiracy against trade, the 24 leaders were imprisoned for campaigning for a 9-hour workday. The Toronto Trades Assembly had already gained significant support in campaigning for better working conditions, until eventually the authorities couldn’t deny the people’s desire for trade unions in this new, emerging Canadian society. This led to the Canadian Prime Minister at the time, Sir John Macdonald, repealing all laws against trade unions.

Still to this day, trade unions host parades and picnics to campaign for workers’ rights. However, many Canadians choose to celebrate the long weekend that marks the end of summer instead, participating in traditionally summery activities like trips out of the city and attending firework displays.

Here are a few ways to celebrate Labour Day:

Take a late summer trip

With the awareness that there will be an inevitably cold winter, many Canadians use the Labour Day weekend as an opportunity for one last summer getaway. Trips to rural cottages and campsites is common for a lot of Canadians. With breath-taking scenery of mountains, lakes and waterfalls, there’s plenty of nature to admire and fresh air to inhale. You should check before you visit to ensure that there is a good level of accessibility. If rural trips don’t sound appealing, there are plenty of fantastic cities to explore in Canada, from Vancouver to Toronto.

Attend a firework display

There is bound to be a firework display happening in your local area. Whether they are put on by the local community, or in your friends or family’s backyard, this is a summer tradition that can’t go amiss. Since this is an evening activity, check the weather forecast before you go to make sure you can arrange suitable plans. If the weather looks a bit chilly, remember to wrap up warm in plenty of layers and bring a flask of hot chocolate. To avoid straining your neck looking up at the night sky, bring a camping chair to sit down in and remember to keep stretching your neck.

Watch the football

If you are a football fan, there is plenty of sport to keep you busy over the long weekend. The Labour Day Classic consists of 3 games between high ranking teams in the Canadian Football League (CFL). One match occurs on the Sunday before Labour Day, while the other 2 take place on actual Labour Day. Whether you choose to watch these matches live on television or attend them in person, this is certainly a bit of fun to be enjoyed with friends and family.

Go to a parade

With Labour Day having a rich history relating to parades, most of them nowadays are organised for a bit of fun rather than to campaign for better working conditions. Most towns and cities will host one that will be fun for the entire family. If the forecast looks like it could be warm, ensure that you bring plenty of water along with you to stay hydrated and a hat to shield your face from the harsh sun rays. If you struggle with walking or standing for long periods of time, a camping chair may be the perfect solution.

Have a BBQ

With summer officially coming to an end, what better way to mark it than with one final barbeque? This is a great way to bring family and friends together, as well as enjoy some summertime grub. Burgers, ribs, hot dogs or even vegetable skewers are all fantastic options. If you’re not the BBQ host or chef yourself, you can still get involved by bringing along some classic side dishes such as potato salad or sausage rolls. If it’s going to be a hot one, make sure to apply sunscreen and wear a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes.