Tolpuddle Martyrs Award Event; International Workers’ Day 2024

May 01, 2024 at
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM EST
Peace Park 331 Thames Street London, ON N6A 5N8
Dear LDLC Affiliates, Members, Guests, and Friends,

On this upcoming International Workers’ Day, Wednesday May 1, at 4pm, we invite you to join us in front of the “Working Hands” sculpture at the London Peace Park (331 Thames Street). Please share this message with your co-workers, union activists, and friends.  This is a day for recognition of all workers and their contributions.


“I believe nothing will ever be done to relieve the distress of the working classes unless they take it into their own hands.  Let the producers of wealth firmly and peacefully unite their energies and what can withstand them.”
–George Loveless, one of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, after being pardoned and returned to England

We will be presenting the Tolpuddle Martyrs Award to Paddy Musson, former President of OPSEU/SEFPO Local110 representing Fanshawe College faculty from 1984 to 2010, in recognition of her significant contribution to the labour movement including her leadership on the issues of equity and quality education.  Below you can read about the history of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
Following the presentation, you are invited to join us at Crabby Joe’s (276 Dundas Street at Wellington downtown) to reminisce and celebrate.
In solidarity,
Darryl Bedford
Communications Officer, London and District Labour Council


Trade unions in Canada were illegal up to 1872. A protest by workers who demonstrated against the injustices imposed on 24 Toronto Typographical Union members, who were imprisoned for fighting for a nine hour day, caused the then-Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to abolish the laws that made being a union member illegal.

While unions were illegal in Canada at that time, unions were legal in England and this is where the connection between the Tolpuddle Martyrs begins. Although it was legal to belong to a union, trumped up charges were laid against the martyrs that to take an oath to support the cause of workers collectively, was illegal, thus the sentencing of the Martyrs to serve 7 years in a penal colony in Tasmania (Australia) in 1834.

The labour movement in England demonstrated against this injustice and was successful in bringing the Martyrs back home to their home town of Tolpuddle. Still there were those people in authority who did not want the return of the Martyrs. The Martyrs were given leased land in Essex, England from donations collected by the union movement. There came a time when the lease had to be renewed. Five of the Martyrs decided to move to Canada. It must be remembered that unions were illegal at that time in Canada. The Martyrs made a vow not to disclose to their new found friends in Canada of their deportation to Tasmania. Still, the Martyrs led successful and productive lives in London and the surrounding area as leaders within their communities.

This year’s Tolpuddle Award Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024 at 4:00 pm at the Peace Park.

Inline image 1
     Inline image 3

Sorry, this event has ended.

View more events here