Labour Day

When we celebrate this weekend we seldom think about the workers who went on strike back in 1872, fighting for a 9-hour work day and a 54-hour work week. This strike eventually led to the first Labour Day parade in 1894, honouring workers’ rights.

Now that workers in Canada enjoy a 40-hour work week, Labour Day has changed focus – it’s a whole weekend and it marks the end of summer. It has nothing to do with labour, unless you count packing suitcases and lugging steaks and beer up to your cottage. People from all walks of life and all age groups make their trip to “the cottage.” You can see the cars and vans beginning their exodus as early as Thursday afternoon, loaded up with food, kayaks, and alcohol. They head north to Muskoka or east to Haliburton, stopping along the way for lunch at their favourite burger joint or for some butter tarts at their go-to bakery. They return to the city on Monday; sun-burned, waterlogged, and sleepy.

During my lifetime I have owned a couple of cottages. One had propane lights, an outhouse, and a hand pump in the kitchen for washing dishes. The other one had two bathooms and a dishwasher. Both fulfilled the same purpose: get out of town and into nature. But we also know that cottage weekends are a lot of work, packing and unpacking, and dealing with traffic jams on all the major highways. Staying in the city is not such a bad option! Here’s what we did this year instead:

On the first day we attended our annual family Tomato Day, a very Italian tradition where the family gathers to preserve tomatoes that will be used in pasta sauce for the entire year. There are also a few games, such as squeezing tomato seeds at each other. Our job this year was to buy the tomatoes and provide some of the equipment including jars and sealing lids. Well this year the lids were elusive. It seems that everyone in Toronto has moved from the gardening craze to the canning craze – tomatoes, pickled beets, jams, you name it! Between Peter and me, we figure we searched about 14 stores before we had cobbled together enough lids. The rest of the day went very smoothly.

On the next day, we went for our last swim at our local outdoor pool. This pool has been a haven for us during this hot summer. It’s just a short walk down the street to a huge heated pool with no crowds. We spent many happy hours there cooling off and getting some exercise, and our last swim was no different. Peter and I had the entire deep end to ourselves, and we could hear the kids in the shallow end screaming with delight as they cannonballed into the water, only occasionally stopping in a corner to talk about school.

Then we decided that part of the weekend had to recognize the quintessential Labour Day weekend activity – the CNE! Since the only part of the CNE that was available this year was the air show, we walked down to the lake, sat on a rock at the mouth of the Humber River, and watched the planes as they swooped and dove in various formations. We were not alone. There were pedestrians lined up along the Humber Bridge, bikers of all ages in droves, and boaters. I counted at least 50 kayaks, canoes, motor boats, sailboats, paddle boards, pontoon boats, and sea-doos, their owners taking in the show overhead.

Our final tribute to Labour Day was a BBQ outside with grilled meat and corn on the cob. And a glass of wine to toast the end of a pretty good summer, all around.


bikers get a good view

Pedestrians along the Humber Bridge
Bird pretending to be in the show

6 thoughts on “Labour Day

  1. Such a great weekend. As a young adult I worked at the CNE Publicity Department in the summers. So nice to hear you speak of the Air Show. This event marked the end of summer work and the end of the CNE season. Great read!


  2. A lovely post again Sue but so sad to be saying goodbye to another beautiful summer. We will still have some sunny warm days but there is always the feeling it may be the last for a while. I have to remember Fall can also be a wonderful season. We had an enjoyable weekend with family gathering together on Sat. for dinner at the local golf club near the cottage to celebrate Harlandโ€™s 79th birthday. Oooh how time flies by, scary! It was a lovely event and evening. G/kids all back to school tomorrow so will not see them for sometime. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Happy to see you had an interesting weekend as always. You two do keep yourselves well entertained. Bye for now M.

    Sent from my iPhone



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s