North America, Travel

Celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada!

Thanksgiving is fast approaching for us in Canada! The opportunity for me to tell you about the Canadian version of this world-famous holiday and to suggest ideas to celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada!

Thanksgiving in Canada: when, where, what, how?

Thanksgiving in Canada vs the USA

Turkey, pies and first snowflakes. When we talk about Thanksgiving, many think immediately of the last Thursday of November, when the vast majority of American families gather before going on a crazy shopping spree for Black Friday!

But in Canada, the Thanksgiving Day (l’Action de Grâce in French ;)) rhymes more with Halloween than Christmas, because this holiday takes place the second Monday of October!

This year, it is Monday, October 14, which will be a holiday for most of the country. Here, there is no Black Friday to follow the festivities, it is Monday that is a holiday and everyone returns nicely to work the next day;)

Image result for thanksgiving canada toronto
Photo: Inside Vancouver

Why this difference with the Americans?

Apparently, there are a number of reasons: late political decisions to make it an official holiday and Canada’s colder weather being the two main ones.

In fact, there was no specific date in Canada until the mid-19th century, before Protestant pastoralists in Ontario asked in 1859 for a celebration to celebrate the harvest.

It is therefore assumed that the colder weather in Canada forcing farmers to finish harvesting earlier means celebrating the end of harvest earlier.

Also, the first official Thanksgiving took place in April 1872, and the next, seven years later, in November, for 19 years. For a few years, between 1921 and 1930, the celebration is held on November 11, Remembrance Day. But from 1931, it is brought back in October, the second Monday of the month.

Finally, in 1957, the Canadian government made it a national and fixed holiday, the one we still know today.

What are Canadians doing for Thanksgiving?

Originally, Thanksgiving is a pretty religious holiday but has quickly become a family time, a civic holiday the same as for the neighbors in the United States.

Thanksgiving weekend program: family dinners with turkey on the menu, sports activities on TV and with the family, etc… Since it is Monday that is a holiday, Canadians will tend to gather with family or friends any day of the weekend but with a preference for Sunday!

Image result for thanksgiving canada toronto
Photo: PG Harvey Events

A typically Canadian Thanksgiving menu:

  • Roasted and stuffed turkey
  • Mashed potatoes with gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Various autumn vegetables (mainly squash, but also Brussels sprouts)
  • Pumpkin pies
  • Baked ham
  • Apple pies
  • Regional dishes: salmon, game, butter tarts, Nanaimo bars.

Some events around Toronto for Thanksgiving!

  1. Enjoy the colors of fall in your favorite parks in Ontario.
  2. Take a look at the Thanksgiving parade for the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
  3. Discover the PumpkinFest from Toronto to Downsview Park
  4. Go visit a farm to harvest apples or pumpkins!
Photo de Downey's Farm.
Photo: Downey’s Farm

À bientôt ❤️

Marion

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Thanksgiving in Canada

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