Thanksgiving is a traditional Canadian holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October. This holiday is celebrated throughout Canada as a statutory holiday (or optional holiday in some provinces).

For most people, Thanksgiving is spent amongst family and friends enjoying a giant meal of turkey, pies, and other fall foods. But how did this humble holiday begin?

In Canada, its exact origins are unknown. Some people trace it back to 1578 with explorer Martin Frobisher who held Thanksgiving celebrations to give thanks for surviving the long journey from England to Canada. Others accredit this holiday to French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, who, in the 17th century, held the holiday to celebrate a successful harvest with a feast for both his people and the local First Nations peoples.

Regardless of its origins, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all of the things in our life that we should be grateful for including our health, our family, our friends, our education, and so much more!

Now, some of you may be wondering why Canadian Thanksgiving is a month earlier than its American counterpart. Well, Canada is geographically further north than the US, so our harvest season ends much earlier. Since our Thanksgiving is more about giving thanks for the harvest season rather than marking the arrival of the pilgrims, it makes sense to celebrate it in October.

Both Americans and Canadians alike enjoy very large meals for Thanksgiving. The traditional Thanksgiving meal revolves around turkey, stuffing, and baked pies (apple and pumpkin tend to be the most common). Sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables fill the rest of the table.

On Thanksgiving Monday, many people have the day off work and all schools are closed. Many stores (including Beer Stores & LCBO stores), government offices, banks, libraries, malls, businesses and organizations are also closed. Some convenience stores and pharmacies may remain open but not many.

Want to celebrate Thanksgiving but you’re not sure what to do? If you’re in London for the long weekend, plan meet up with friends and roast a chicken (or a turkey if you have enough people to eat it!). Usually, students from farther provinces (think British Columbia, the Prairies, and the Maritimes) will stay over the weekend and host a Thanksgiving dinner amongst friends. Many restaurants also feature Thanksgiving-themed menus at this time of year so if you’re not the best cook- eating out might be a better option! If you have a ticket, be sure join IESC for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday!

If you just want to enjoy the fall weather and bake some fresh pies, you can always visit a farm to pick some fresh apples and pumpkins. Although most of these farms a little removed from the city (this one  comes highly recommended)- It could be a nice mini day trip to take with a few friends if one of you has access to a car.

Lastly, if the cold weather is starting to wear you down, you could just curl up with a cup of hot apple cider (apple juice with a hint of cinnamon works just as well if you can’t find cider) and watch movies at home.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone and thank you for your readership! 🙂