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Encyclopedia > Finnish Labour Temple
Finnish Labour Temple circa 1910
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Finnish Labour Temple circa 1910

The Finnish Labour Temple (also reffered to as the "Big Finn Hall") in Thunder Bay, Ontario located on 314 Bay Street in the Finnish quarter, is a Finnish-Canadian cultural and community centre and a local landmark. Built in 1910, the Finnish Labour Temple was at one point one of the largest workers' halls in Canada in addition to being the epicentre of Finnish cultural and political life in Northwestern Ontario. Currently, the hall houses the historic Hoito Restaurant (or The Hoito), the offices of the weekly Finnish-Canadian newspaper Canadan Sanomat, a museum, and features a large stage, dance floor, and hall as well as meeting rooms for various groups. The Finnish Labour Temple also serves as one of the main locations of the Bay Street Film Festival. Thunder Bay (, time zone EST) is a city in and the seat of Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada. ... Finnish-Canadians are Canadians of Finnish descent, who according to the 2001 census number over 114 000. ... 1910 (MCMX) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... Northwestern Ontario is the region within the Canadian province of Ontario which lies north and west of Lake Superior, and west of Hudson Bay and James Bay. ... The Hoito Restaurant (often referred to as “The Hoito” by locals) is a Finnish-Canadian restaurant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada established in 1918 and housed in the bottom-floor of the historic Finnish Labour Temple. ... Finnish-Canadians are Canadians of Finnish descent, who according to the 2001 census number over 114 000. ...

Contents


Construction of the Finnish Labour Temple

The construction of the Finnish Labour Temple was initiated by two organizations, the Finnish-American Workers' League Imatra #9 and the "Uusi Yritys" or New Attempt Temperance Society, who formed the Finnish Building Company. The lot for the hall had been purchased by socialist local in June 1907 and blueprints for the hall had already been prepared in early December 1908 by architect C.W. Wheeler. The building opened its doors to the public in March 1910, holding three consecutive days of opening ceremonies. Temperance may refer to: Temperance (virtue) Temperance movement Temperance (Tarot card) Temperance (band) See also Astrud Gilberto, for the album Temperance This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... 1907 (MCMVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... 1910 (MCMX) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ...


Early Labour Temple Activity 1910-1914

Already in 1910, the hall was referred to as the "Port Arthur Finnish Socialist's Local Temple" as the socialist local had become the majority share holder in the hall and was connected to the Port Arthur Branch of the Socialist Party of Canada. The Temperance Society had basically become a committee of the socialist local. By December 1910, however, foreign language locals of the Socialist Party had been expelled from the party. In 1911, a new organization called the Finnish Socialist Organization of Canada had been formed, which then became affiliated to the Social Democratic Party of Canada. The Socialist Party of Canada (SPC) was formed in 1904 when the Socialist Party of British Columbia merged with the Canadian Socialist League. ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... The Social Democratic Party was a social democratic political party founded in 1911 by members of the right wing of the Socialist Party of Canada, who were dissatisfied with what they saw as that partys rigid, doctrinaire approach. ...


In January of 1910, during the first annual meeting of the Finnish Building Company, the membership voted to rent the downstairs of the hall to the Finnish Publishing Company, who rented the basement until the summer of 1912 when it moved to its own building next door. Of note, was the first Finnish-Canadian newspaper Tyƶkansa (The Working People), which was published by the Finnish Publishing Company. Between 1910 and 1914, the basement of the hall also housed several co-operative restaurants and a pool room. 1910 (MCMX) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ...


On September 12-17, 1910, the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada held its annual convention at the Finnish Labour Temple complementing the "industry, thrift and co-operative spirit" of the Finnish community in the commemorative booklet given to convention delegates. The Trades and Labour Congress of Canada was a Canada-wide central federation of trade unions from 1883 to 1956. ...


The First World War and the Communist/Syndicalist Split

During the First World War, the foreign-language affiliates of the Social Democratic Party were declared illegal by the Canadian Government. This lead to many difficulties as several Finnish-language newspapers were banned and leading organizers were arrested. At this time, many Finnish workers joined the rapidly emerging One Big Union and the regional support group became the majority share holder of the Finnish Building Company. Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... The One Big Union was a concept which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century amongst working class trade unionists. ...


In 1919, a split occurred at the One Big Union National Convention held at the Finnish Labour Temple. The split was essentially between two different factions; Finnish socialists who believed that the working class needed a political arm, and Finnish syndicalists who felt that social change could best be achieved through economic direct action such as the general strike. As a result, the Finnish socialists were ousted and bought their own building next door at 316 Bay Street or the "Little Finn Hall", and became affiliated with the Communist Finnish Organization of Canada. The Finnish workers who maintained control of the Finnish Labour Temple affiliated to the Industrial Workers of the World after the Winnipeg General Strike and the collapse of the One Big Union. The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... Syndicalism is a political and economic ideology which advocates giving control of both industry and government to labor union federations. ... Direct action is a method and a theory of stopping objectionable practices or creating more favorable conditions using immediately available means. ... A general strike is a strike action by an entire labour force in a city, region or country. ... Communism - Wikipedia /**/ @import /w/skins-1. ... The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is a famous international union currently headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. It contends that all workers should be united within a single union as a class and the wage system abolished. ... Crowd gathered outside old City Hall during the Winnipeg General Strike, June 21, 1919 The Winnipeg General Strike was Canadas most influential labour protest. ...


The Finnish Wobblies 1919 to the 1960's

The syndicalist oriented Finns remained affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the auxiliary organization, Canadan Teollisuusunionistinen Kannatusliitto (Canadian Industrial Worker Support Circle or CTKL). This was the group responsible for establishing and operating The Hoito Restaurant as well as establishing a chain of People's Co-operative stores in the region. The Finnish Labour Temple acted as the Canadian IWW administrative offices for several years and housed the Canadian news service headquarters for the Industrialisti, the Finnish-language daily newspaper of the IWW. The Finnish Wobblies were also able to pay off the mortgage on the building. The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is a famous international union currently headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. It contends that all workers should be united within a single union as a class and the wage system abolished. ... The Hoito Restaurant (often referred to as “The Hoito” by locals) is a Finnish-Canadian restaurant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada established in 1918 and housed in the bottom-floor of the historic Finnish Labour Temple. ... Industrialisti was the official daily newspaper of the Industrial Workers of the World. ... The IWW Label A Wobbly membership card The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is an international union headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, having much in common with anarcho-syndicalist unions, but also many differences. ...


The IWW competed for the hearts and minds of members with the communist-dominated unions, and held union locals well into the 1940's. With the younger generation rapidly being assimilated into dominant Canadian society, the IWW and CTKL in Northwestern Ontario became friendship and mutual aid societies for an aging membership. In the late 1960's, following the last major wave of Finnish immigration to Canada, a new organization called the Finlandia Club of Port Arthur became the majority share holder of the hall. The new wave of immigrants were a generation separated from their Finnish-Canadian brethren and had no connection to the social struggles of the past. In addition, the newly arriving immigrants were either a-political or conservative, associating any left-wing activity with the brutality of Stalinism and the Finnish Winter War; this despite the fact that the Finnish Wobblies in Canada and the U.S. had actively supported and aided Finland in the war against the Soviet Union and denounced Bolshevism since the Kronstadt uprising. Stalinism is a brand of political theory, and the political and economic system named after Josef Stalin, who implemented it in the Soviet Union. ... The Winter War (also known as the Russo-Finnish War) broke out when the Soviet Union attacked Finland on November 30, 1939, three months after the start of World War II. As a consequence, the Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations on December 14th. ... The IWW Label A Wobbly membership card The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies) is an international union headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, having much in common with anarcho-syndicalist unions, but also many differences. ... Bolshevik Party Meeting. ... Red Army troops attack Kronstadt The Kronstadt rebellion was an unsuccessful uprising of Soviet sailors against the government of the early Russian SFSR. It proved to be the last major rebellion against Bolshevik rule. ...


The Finnish Labour Temple Today

The Finnish Labour Temple remains a highly visible local landmark and a symbol of the city. The Temple is the last remaining Finnish cultural centre in Canada and has been designated as a historical building.


The Hoito Restaurant remains a very popular eatery for locals and tourists, recently, there has been a marked increase in activity in the hall as a new generation of locals have stepped in to revive and breath new life into this historic building. This includes the Bay Street Film Festival, which features "films for the people" by screening local, national, and international films with social justice themes; a mojakka competition; an annual Finnish-Canadian art exhibit during the summer solstice; and an annual New Years masquerade party hosted by the Thunder Bay Indymedia collective. This, along with more traditional dances, celebrations, and events like St. Urho's Day make the Finnish Labour Temple one of the more unique locations in Thunder Bay. The Hoito Restaurant (often referred to as “The Hoito” by locals) is a Finnish-Canadian restaurant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada established in 1918 and housed in the bottom-floor of the historic Finnish Labour Temple. ... Illumination of Earth by the sun on the northern hemisphere summer solstice The summer solstice is an astronomical term regarding the position of the sun in relation to the celestial equator. ... The New Year is an event that happens when a culture celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of the next. ... The Independent Media Center, also called Indymedia or the IMC, is a loose network of amateur or alternative media organizations and journalists who organize into decentralized collectives, normally around geographic locations. ...


Trivia

  • The inscription on the top of the building reads "Labor Omnia Vincet," meaning "labour conquers all."

See Also

A cooperative (also co-operative or co-op) is an association of persons who join together to carry on an economic activity of mutual benefit, in an egalitarian fashion. ... Thunder Bay (, time zone EST) is a city in and the seat of Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada. ... Libertarian socialism is any one of a group of political philosophies dedicated to opposing any form of authority and social hierarchy, in particular the institutions of capitalism and the State. ...

External Links

  • Hoito Restaurant and Finnish Labour Temple website
  • Finnish Settlement in Thunder Bay

 
 

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