Canadian Thanksgiving Traditions and Recipes

When the weather starts to drop down a bit and the leaves in our neighbourhoods put on a show, you know it is the beginning of the holiday season. The first holiday of many in the colder months is Thanksgiving, which takes place on October 11th this year. Thanksgiving has been near and dear to many Canadians as it is a time where we can give thanks for what we have and consider those who have less. But where did Thanksgiving come from and what are some specifically Canadian Thanksgiving traditions?


According to some historians, the very first Thanksgiving actually took place in modern-day Nunavut when Martin Frobisher attempted to cross the Northwest Passage in 1578. The journey was treacherous and though he lost one of his ships to the seas, the crew that survived decided they would make a special communion to share and give thanks for surviving their ordeals.


Over the years, with many similar experiences, with the Pilgrims in the United States, and other Aboriginal and cultural traditions, Thanksgiving has evolved. We have celebrated on different days in different regions, but since 1957 all Canadians have been given the national holiday of Thanksgiving as the second Monday in October.


Canadian Thanksgiving Traditions


Choosing The Day You Celebrate

While in the United States, Thanksgiving strictly falls on the last Thursday of November, Canadians have flexibility on which day they celebrate Thanksgiving, especially as the day that we have off falls on a Monday.


Get-Togethers Are More Intimate

While in the United States Thanksgiving is a big holiday that involves extensive travel, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on a more intimate level. We tend to celebrate with our immediate families, and in some parts of Canada, such as Quebec, “Action de Grace” (as it is called there) may not be celebrated at all! Supposedly, the reason behind this is because Thanksgiving has Protestant roots and Quebecers are mainly Catholic.



Both Americans and Canadians love watching football for Thanksgiving. But we are not stuck only watching American football! Canadians often enjoy The Canadian Football League’s Thanksgiving Day Classic - a doubleheader that airs on national TV.


Hiking And Leaf Peeping

Because Canadian Thanksgiving falls significantly earlier in the year than American Thanksgiving, many take advantage of autumn’s splendor on this weekend. It is believed that this day is the busiest day for hiking and long strolls in the countryside in Canada!

Thanksgiving Food

We all know that the turkey is generally the star of the show when it comes to Thanksgiving. Canadians also are fond of using other proteins in addition to or in lieu of turkey, however, such as ham. Typical Canadian side dishes for Thanksgiving are stuffing, sweet potatoes, root vegetables such as squash, gravy, cranberry sauce. The dessert is famously pumpkin pie. Check out some of these quick and easy recipes to help you out.


If you are looking for a game-changing turkey recipe this year that doesn’t require Michelin star skills, I highly recommend you try Jamie Oliver’s Easy Turkey recipe. Your turkey will be the talk of the town!


Vegan or not a turkey lover? No problem. Check out these healthy vegan Thanksgiving recipes.


Wishing you and yours, a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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