Monday, September 6, 2010

Holiday: Labour Day Parade

The Service Employees International Union included this float with a message about health care in the Labour Day Parade in Toronto, Ontario on 6-September-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Rain fell during most of the duration of the Labour Day parade in Toronto, Ontario, today, but that did not stop thousands of union members from walking the parade route down Queen Street West from downtown Toronto, turning south on Dufferin Street to reach the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

The Association of Chinese Electrical Workers was one of many union locals walking in the Labour Day Parade in Toronto, Ontario on 6-September-2010

Every union, large and small, walks in the parade each year. I like to look for the sign for the most obscure union that I had not previously known. With the inclement weather, signs were harder to read underneath umbrellas, so this year I have to give the nod to a relatively large group, the Chinese Electrical Workers.

A carrier full of Canadian-built automobiles from Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors participated in the Labour Day Parade in Toronto, Ontario on 6-September-2010

The Labour Day Parade likely has the smallest spectator to participant ratio (well under 1, contrasted with the Santa Claus Parade) of all the parades in Toronto. In part, this is because there aren't a lot of things to see and experience. Some larger unions built floats, quite a number have rousing musical acts, and a few bring their products--like the Canadian-built automobiles in this year's parade. In terms of entertainment, though, it isn't exactly full of interest.

The Amalgamated Transit Union's pipe band resumed its performance on Queen Street West in Toronto, Ontario on 6-September-2010

The parade is in part a political event. Only the endorsed mayoral candidate, Joe Pantalone, was invited to march in the parade. Two others had announced their intention to crash the parade. Whether because of the weather or other reasons, I didn't see any of them. Each year, a group tends to do a skit along the sidewalk near the "Hug Me" tree against the Federal Conservative government. This year, it wasn't especially clever, implying that Prime Minister Harper receives kickbacks from businesses, an allegation that seems to have no grounding in facts.

A side skit along the parade route implied that the Harper government was corrupt during the Labour Day Parade on 6-September-2010

A major incentive to participate in the Labour Day Parade is free entry to the Canadian National Exhibition's final day. Now, the parade and the exhibition are over until next year.

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