Plaque, corner Grosvenor St. and Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto

The early 1870s were a time of labour activism across Southern Ontario, especially in support of the nine hour day. Events reached a climax in Toronto in 1872, where printers led by the Toronto Typographical Union No. 91 went out on strike. Their demonstrations brought 10,000 people to Queen’s Park, a massive turnout for the time. At the instigation of Globe publisher George Brown, more than 20 union leaders, including John Armstrong, were arrested for criminal conspiracy. In response Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald took advantage of the opportunity to embarrass his political rival and appear as a friend of labour. The 1872 Trade Union Act confirmed the legality of union organization in Canada and, as stated on the plaque, “significantly altered relations between workers, employers and the government”.