On Thanksgiving, Canadians give thanks for a successful year and harvest. The Thanksgiving holiday tradition in Canada dates back to when the English explorer, Martin Frobisher, came upon the land we now know as Canada while searching for a Northern passage to the Orient. When Frobisher arrived in Canada on his third voyage in 1578, he held a formal ceremony where he gave thanks for surviving the long journey – one of his ships had been lost on the way. South of the border, it would be another 43 years before the Pilgrims sat down to celebrate their first Thanksgiving meal. Happy Thanksgiving 2020!
Thanksgiving became a nationally recognised holiday in Canada in 1879. The date of the holiday has moved around a few times since then, and settled on the current date in 1957. Apart from taking place years before its American counterpart, Canadian thanksgiving also takes place over a month earlier. One reason is that the harvest season starts earlier in the more northerly Canada than it does in the US.
Today, it is celebrated by gathering with loved ones and preparing the Thanksgiving Day meal, which usually includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and many other dishes. There are often regional variations on the meal.
In the regions where Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated, most government offices will be closed and so will many local amenities. Public transport is likely to run on a holiday or Sunday schedule. Banks will be closed along with the Toronto Stock Exchange.