In the severe economic depression of 1929-39 Canadian labour engaged in many fierce battles. One of the highlights was the general strike of young unemployed single men in work camps in the province of British Columbia on Canada's west coast in April, 1935 where they laboured six and a half days a week for the paltry wage of 20 cents a day.
The strikers abandoned the camps and congregated in the city of Vancouver. After two months of valiant but unsuccessful struggle for union wages, they decided to take their case direct to Ottawa, the nation's capital, three thousand miles to the east. Their journey was enshrined in history as the On To Ottawa Trek.
They left Vancouver on June 3. "Riding the rod" (on and in railway freight cars) across mountains and prairie they reached Regina, still only half way to Ottawa. Here they were stopped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on orders from Ottawa and a month later the strike was brutally smashed on July 1 in a police-inspired riot and its leaders arrested.
Their epic strike and trip captured the hearts and minds of Canadians. It was Canada's worst riot during the Depression.
In the ealry 1930's relief, work camps were created by Prime Minister R.B Bennet but were not enough to deal with people's major economic problems. In June of 1935, after strking in Vancouver for a month the workers lead by the Relief Camp Workers Union boarded trains in Vancouver bound for Ottawa because they weren't getting enough pay.
The train was stopped in Regina by the RCMP. Two weeks later was the start of the "Regina Riot" Using baseball bats, billy clubs, and tear gas, the RCMP and Regina City Police fought a crowd of mainly citizens for three hours. Dozens of protestors were injured and one police officer was killed