Click on photo above to see the picture gallery
Neither rain nor tornado warnings could keep hundreds of people, adults and kids alike, from enjoying the fourth annual Barrie Labour Day Picnic at Sunnidale Park on September 2nd.
Instead of facing bumper to bumper traffic on Highway 400 while heading into Toronto, Barrie residents preferred to stay in their home town, and enjoyed food, great music and entertainment for the day.
Organized by the Confederation of Canadian Unions, the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) and the Simcoe County Labour Council, the event featured some phenomenal live music by The Dirty Little Swing Thing, a five piece rock band that played everything from the Who to Daft Punk, from Soul to Disco, to the delight of the crowd.
“This year, we tried something different,” says Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU) President and event organizer, Joanie Cameron Pritchett. “We opened the picnic to not-for-profit organizations and charitable groups that work in the community. They do so much for the town of Barrie, and deserve to be recognized for their incredible efforts.”
M&M Meats provided the BBQ with hot dogs and hamburgers, Steve Fox from Fox’s Bakery supplied delicious breads, Moonwalk Bouncer and Amusement Rentals, owned by Karen Roy, brought jumpy castle and face painting for the kids, and a magician entertained parents and children alike.
The CCU also invited unions from throughout the region, and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), and some members of the newly-created UNIFOR, an amalgamation of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), were happy to take part.
Also participating was the Barrie New Democratic Party Riding Association and the Barrie Injured Workers Support Group, which fights for the rights of the tens of thousands of workers injured on the job each year across Canada.
“Labour Day is about bringing workers together,” says Pritchett, “regardless of what union they belong to, or even if they aren’t members of unions. We need to engage workers who don’t yet belong to a union, because their freedoms and rights on the job are just as important.”
The origins of Labour Day in Canada are traced back to April 14, 1872, when a parade was staged in Toronto to support the Typographical Union’s strike for a nine hour workday. After 24 members of the union were arrested, labour leaders called for a demonstration to take place on September 3rd of that year.
“Despite the difficult weather, people really enjoyed the event,” says Pritchett. “This Labour Day in Barrie, we recommitted ourselves to working together in building a better future for all workers in Canada.”