Sun. Cold drinks. Crowds of people.
These are just a few of my thoughts that describe St. Catharines’ Labour Day Parade.
For many years I’ve marched in Toronto’s Labour Day parade. It’s always the biggest Labour Day event in Ontario, and perhaps the country. It attracts press coverage from Canada’s biggest newspapers and TV stations. But this year I marched in St. Catharines’ Labour Day Parade. Let me say it didn’t disappoint. There must have been several thousand people who came out to watch the parade. That’s quite a turnout for a city with only 131,000 people.
It brought together many different people from many different walks of life. It wasn’t just lined up with shop stewards, professors and left-wing activists handing out leaflets. There were young couples with their children, middle-aged families, singles, seniors and much more. They were all there to enjoy some sun, watch the parade, and toast the end of the summer.
And it wasn’t just unions who marched. Unions like SEIU Healthcare walked with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment, the YMCA, the Shriners, performers from Gymnastics Energy, and several cheerleading groups.
As we marched from the Pen shopping centre to Merritton Lions Club, I watched as the crowds got bigger and bigger. Hundreds of people had set up their lawn chairs in the front of their house while enjoying the parade in the warm sun.
After the parade was done, the party didn’t end. Everyone got together at the Merritton for some cold drinks, juicy hamburgers and giant hot dogs. While the adults socialized with each other, families took their children on the ferris wheel and other fun carnival rides.
Once I left the Lions Club and walked back to my car, I noticed a dozen or so house parties still going on after the parade had ended. People strolled from one house party to the next. It was all very casual and very laid back.
In my opinion, this is what Labour Day is all about. It’s a day where everyone can get together, support one another and also have some fun before the summer ends.