Thanksgiving Day in Canada

Thanksgiving Day in Canada occurs on the second Monday of October every year. This year, it was celebrated on Monday, October 13th. The Canadian version of Thanksgiving is largely regarded as the first in North America. Sometime in 1578, English voyager Martin Frobisher arrived on the coast of Frobisher Bay in Baffin Island. This was not his original destination, but he chose to celebrate his safe arrival in the New World, anyway. Thanksgiving was celebrated in Halifax in 1799 after the Seven Years’ War, although the celebrations didn’t occur on a regular basis. It wasn’t until the 1800s that the tradition became more widespread. American migration to Canada after the American Revolution had an influence on the traditions that were celebrated.

Different regions of Canada celebrated Thanksgiving separately for years. In 1879, Thanksgiving Day was declared a national holiday. Initially, it was meant to be celebrated in November, but the date changed in 1957 to the second Monday of October. Thanksgiving is now a statutory holiday in Canada, meaning that federal government-run establishments must be closed. However, in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, the holiday is considered optional. Many businesses still choose to be closed, but others like convenience stores and gas stations pay their workers overtime to come in. Parades are held in most cities, including the largest and most well-known one in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Many people choose to use their three-day weekend to travel, especially to vacation towns that close for the winter. Canadian Thanksgiving, much like the American version, is accompanied by a turkey dinner and football games. Since it is recognized on a Monday, celebrations typically run throughout the weekend.

-Muna Muday