Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | August 23, 2015

Cornwall Photographs of the Week. Labour Day Parade.


scan0053Throughout the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s the end of the holiday summer season was marked by the return to school and Labour Day Parades.scan0046

1956 parade.scan0047

1954 Parade at Brennan’s Corners.

On September 3, 1984 Canadians celebrated Labour Day as an official holiday for the first time.  Guided through Parliament by Conservative M.P. Alexander W. Wright, the former head of the Knights of Labour, Canadians had unofficially marked the day starting in 1872 and moved the day ahead from May to September.scan0048

1956 Parade float.


Cornwall traditionally marked Labour Day at St. Lawrence Park, across from Courtaulds with a full day of activities including a parade, sporting events, an auction and a dance.

In 1947, E. Booth, President of the Cornwall Labour Council wrote:

The advent of Labour Day…will see the end of eleven years of slow

but steady organization of Labour in Cornwall and its districts.  The

benefits of this same organization can be seen today, not only in the

pay envelopes of the worker, but also in the architectural and

expansional changes made in the business sections of the City and Township.scan0049


Progress came to the fronts of the District, because progress first came

to the worker, through hard work and later through democratice

collective bargaining with Management.

The worker had an idea and the victory of an idea will be facilitated

by the degree in which propaganda has worked upon the people, and

by the degrees in which the organization that is responsible for the

practical battle to organize, is firm, rigid and conclusive.scan0050


1956 Parade Float.

Let us not forget on this great day eleven years ago a few people decided

something had to be done in the District, so an active Democratic union

was born.scan0051

1956 Parade Float.

When the propaganda has filled a whole people with an idea, the organization

can assure the consequences with a handful of men.  These men are workers

without a dollar in their pockets, their homes and basements were Union

Headquarters, their bread and butter its finances.

I will say again, they had an idea, and they did not need a dictionary to

explain it, the people were solid behind them waiting for the deadline, it

came and passed and the solidarity of the people was, and shall be maintained.

Lest we forget: that tributes to be real must have tangible form, let every

worker salute through a conscientious effort to carry on where our Brothers

and Sisters Leave off.

With always the thought in mind, that an injury to one is an injury to all.scan0052


1956 Parade Float.

The politicking over, the Programme Committee under the chairmanship of Harry R. Marsden organized a tug of war, potato sack,  wheel-barrow, three legged and egg and spoon races, women’s rolling pin throws, pie and molasses eating contests and a bicycle race from Mille Roches to St. Lawrence Park.

The day was capped off by dancing to the tunes of Burton’s Heward’s 12 piece orchestra, “the 9th most popular band in Canada.”






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