Working Class Heritage Tour: By Choice Or By Force

  • May 4 - 12, 2024
  • Peace & Friendship Park

    1170 Hollis Street
    Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 2P6
Ticket Price (CAD) $2.00-$40.00 This event is now over

3rd edition tour with a new itinerary!

The 2024 Working Class Heritage Tour will focus on the story of immigrants and migrants to Halifax, both those who came by choice, force or a lack of other options. It will shed light on how these people shaped the physical landscape of the city, the lives of those who lived here and how their stories have been largely erased. Engaging the public through stories they may have some familiarity with, such as the story of Black sleeping car porters and the Acadian Expulsion, this tour will also introduce lesser known stories, like the story of who built the forts in the harbour, the Chinese community who found a home in Halifax, and the Lebanese and Syrian immigrants who worked as peddlers and the enslaved people who were sold on the Halifax waterfront. We will also talk about the lost community of Greenbank, located in the South End and the nearby foundries that employed people in dangerous work that kept the province running. This tour will be of particular interest to those from racialized and migrant communities who do not always see themselves reflected in the stories about the province’s history.

With Labour folklorist, Emma Lang

Emma Lang is a public heritage professional, folklorist and tour guide. She’s been sharing her research and excitement in labour history to anyone interested for more than 20 years.

Accessibility details at

ASL Interpretation available May 11th

Charlie Wah laundry back room – Photo: J.J. Lee
Date & Time

May 4 - 12, 2024

Venue Details

Peace & Friendship Park

1170 Hollis Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 2P6 Peace & Friendship Park
Mayworks Kjipuktuk/Halifax

May 1st is marked throughout the world as International Workers’ Day, or May Day. A day when the workers of the world take to the streets (when not facing a pandemic) in every major city around the globe demanding justice, fairness and dignity for all. In North America, May Day has not been as prominent as it is in other parts of the world, but it is still celebrated in most major cities with a variety of political and community actions.  However, May Day isn’t simply a celebration of labour. It is a rallying call against our current economic system, a public declaration that “Capitalism Isn’t Working For Workers,” and an affirmation that a better world is possible.

One of the ways various labour councils and unions mark May Day is through the Mayworks Festival. Mayworks was originally conceived in 1986 by the Toronto and York District Labour Council and the idea has since spread to many cities across the country. The goal behind Mayworks is to bring workers and artists together and to use art to explore themes of justice, solidarity and liberation. Art has always been an important way of expressing political statements and Mayworks continues a long tradition of building bonds of solidarity between artists and labour organizations.

The first annual Mayworks Halifax festival took place in 2009 thanks to the organizing efforts of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council. Our festival has since grown exponentially from year to year and has now become Nova Scotia’s largest social justice-themed cultural event. Annually, our festival attracts over a thousand diverse audience members who take interest in issues of social, economic and environmental justice.

Find more Performing & Visual Arts events in Halifax