August 30, 1894, Winnipeg Tribune
Labour Day was first established in New York City in 1882. A motion by the assembly of the Knights of Labor voted that there should be a day where all working men put down their tools and celebrate their work. They settled on the first Monday of September. The idea caught on and it soon spread to other cities throughout America.
It became a legal holiday in Canada starting in 1894 and Winnipeg celebrated in style that September 3rd.
Parade line-up. September 4, 1894, Winnipeg Tribune
The day was organized by the Trades and Labour Council but participation included the military, politicians, business and labour.
The day began with a parade that featured dozens of floats, marching bands and thousands of marchers. It was said to have been the largest parade ever held in Winnipeg, stretching for a couple of miles and taking 40 minutes to pass a fixed point. The grand marshal was Captain Billman, (likely of the 90th Rifles) with the mayor and president of the Trades and Labour Council followed behind in a cart.
Many companies built the floats that allowed their workers to show off their skills. The Vulcan Iron Works float had men in the act of constructing a boiler as it rolled along the route. The bricklayers' float, on which they were going to build a miniature house, fell apart on its approach to Main Street.
After the parade, it was to the Exhibition Grounds for a picnic featuring speeches, tug-o-war contests and foot races.
For a first-hand account of the day, from the Daily Nor'Wester newspaper, follow this link !