The last long weekend of the summer is also the time to honour local workers at the annual Labour Day parade.
“It’s one of the oldest and one of the largest Labour Day parades in Canada,” said Jason McMichael, president of the Sarnia & District Labour Council, the parade’s sponsor.
“Sarnia is a community that was really built on the trades, on blue-collared, unionized workers.”
The parade on Monday, Sept. 4 will involve more than 3,500 participants from about 40 affiliates, including the Labourers, Pipefitters and other building trade unions.
Other unions are also be participating, including the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, as well as members participating marching bands, floats and as flag-bearers, McMichael said.
Though many see Labour Day as just another day off the holiday is an important symbol of worker rights.
In 1872, the printers union of Toronto demanded a nine-hour workday and launched a month-long strike that drew national attention from other unions, the public and elected officials.
That led to the passing of the Trade Union Act and in 1894 Labour Day became an official Canadian holiday.
Today, Sarnia-Lambton is home to more than 15,000 unionized employees.
McMichael said the city has a special relationship with trade unions, which have built and run much of the Chemical Valley.
“The skilled trades in Sarnia and the public and private sector unions have always played a big role, he said.
The theme of this year’s parade is Together We Stand Strong.
“Whether unionized or not, workers need to stand together,” he said.
“We’re really trying to show a kinder, gentler face to the labour movement and just keep folks working and living in Sarnia Lambton.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The Labour Day Parade
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 4, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Starts at Christina and Wellington streets, heads north on Front Street, ending at Centennial Park.