Lifestyle West Blog

Labor Day: The End of Summer

September 03, 2012

Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882

Labor Day Parade in Union Square,
New York, 1882

Source: Wikipedia

The symbolic end of summer is just around the corner. Across the United States and Canada, the first Monday in September is recognized as Labor Day. It is the last long weekend of the summer, it usually precedes the first day back to school, and, in fashion circles, it marks the last day of the year when wearing white pants or shoes is acceptable.

Many people take the Labor Day weekend as an opportunity to have that last family get-away, the last camping trip or jaunt to a trendy town to spend some R&R before moving into the full schedule of Fall activities.

At The Best Western Kelowna, we have some great wine, spa and golf packages for those planning a last-minute trip in the Kelowna area. In light of the last summer hurrah, we thought it would be fun to have a look at the history of Labor Day and share what we’ve learned.

It’s interesting that almost 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, it is yet unclear as to who can be cited with credit for initiating the holiday.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.” (Taken from the US Department of Labor website)

Regardless, the first Labor Day celebration took place on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. It was celebrated again on September 5 the following year, and in 1884 the first Monday of September was officially selected for the future.

Labor Day was designed to honor the social and economic achievements of American and Canadian workers. In other words, the men and women whose dedication and commitment built and shaped our great countries into what they are today.

City and town parades, barbeques, family togetherness, fireworks, and picnics are found in communities from sea to shining sea as people take a breath and get ready for the busy-ness of Fall.

We, too, enjoy celebrating the Labor Day weekend with the guests who come through our hotel doors each year and are confident that if you need help finding some ideal ways to spend together time this Labor Day weekend, we can help.

Hope to see you soon in Kelowna!


The award-winning BEST WESTERN PLUS Kelowna Hotel & Suites is known as a launch pad to the surrounding area’s 4 season outdoor playground in British Columbia, Canada. Winter sees world class skiing, and skating, while summer sun brings epic wine tours, golf, biking, and water sports. The Best Western is in the heart of beautiful Kelowna, BC and has 176 rooms and suites; plus conference center, mineral pool, spa and much more.



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