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The Origins And Aftermath Of May Day: The Workers' Holiday

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On May 1, 1886, workers across the United States walked off their jobs in support of the eight-hour day. In Chicago, the event resulted in what is known as the Haymarket Affair. When the three day period was over, several police and workers lay dead and 8 Anarchists were facing murder charges. Eight innocent men were hanged. This action, eventually, resulted in the declaration of May Day as a Global day of working class protest. 

Deadly Construction: Scaffolding

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Construction sites were one of the most dangerous places to work in late 18th and early 20th century Guelph, Ontario. Ditch digging and working on Scaffolds could be and were fatal. Legislation did not cover scaffolding until 1911. In Guelph, a Scaffold Inspector was not appointed until 1913. This resulted only after the many complaints of the Guelph Trades and Labour Council and several deaths during 1912 and 1913.

Guelph Industries: Northern Rubber

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This is the first in a series of articles on Guelph Industries. Northern Rubber operated from 1920 into the 1940s, manufacturing rubber footwear. What began as a small local operation with about 60 employees grew to  provide work for between 300 and 600.

    All pictures are courtesy of the Guelph Civic Museum

Relief Work

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 The Great Depression spread across Canada, comfortably and unevenly settling in for the  duration of the 1930s. In  Guelph, some employers continued to employ workers. Yet, they did so at decreased numbers and what even the     David Croll, the then Minister of Municipal Affairs called "starvation wages." Companies felt free to...

War Work

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During both World Wars, the entire country became mobilized. Companies that once produced everyday items       were retooled for war production. Guelph was no different than other communities across Canada. It showed its support for the war effort in a number of ways.Citizens and businesses  alike bought War and Victory Bonds, planted Victory Gardens and became “Soldiers of the Land.” 
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W C Wood Strike 1959

W.C Wood’ is best known as a manufacturer of freezers. It relocated from Toronto in 1941, setting up shop on Woolwich Street. During WWII, Wood’s produced parts for aircraft and tails for bombs. After the war, the company went back to manufacturing freezers, adding portable units as well as coolers.

 

The company moved to Arthur Street in 1955, taking over the old Taylor-Forbes Plant. Between 1955 and 1967, they produced bulk milk coolers and bottle cappers as well as freezers. In addition, using designs of the old T-F Company, they produced wood clamps, clothesline pulleys, barn and home ventilators and oat rollers. On April 3, 1959, one of Guelph's most vicious strikes began. It was to drag on almost a year.

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