Canadian Thanksgiving

In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest season falls earlier in Canada compared to the United States due to the simple fact that Canada is further north.

Harvest celebrations have been around a long time. Ever since the very first harvest, about 2,000 years ago, people have given thanks for a prosperous bounty. The first formal Canadian Thanksgiving was held just over 40 years prior to the pilgrims landing in Massachusetts. An English explorer named Martin Frobisher had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America and he did celebrate a harvest feast. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving.

In 1957, Parliament announced that on the second Monday in October that Thanksgiving would be "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."

During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and the pumpkin pie. According to one Canadian resource guide the Canadian table usually features venison and waterfowl over turkey. However, a professor from Durham College tells us that in Southern Ontario eating waterfowl or venison at Thanksgiving has never happened and that the turkey or/and ham is the featured food.