The Canadian Thanksgiving makes an interesting counterpoint to the holiday celebrated by its southern neighbor. As mentioned earlier, the first North American thanksgiving event occurred in Newfoundland in 1578. In the 1600s, Samuel de Champlain and the French Settlers who came with him established an “Order of Good Cheer.” This group would hold huge celebrations marking the harvests and other events, sharing their food with Native American neighbors.
The First Canadian Thanksgiving
The first Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated on April 15, 1872 in thanks for the recovery of the future King Edward VII from a serious illness. The next Thanksgiving didn”t occur until 1879 when it was celebrated on a Thursday in November.
Canada Thanksgiving Date
Much like the United States, Canada seemed to have a difficult time deciding when a day of Thanksgiving should occur. From 1879 to 1898 it was celebrated on a Thursday in November; from 1899 to 1907 on a Thursday in October (except in 1901 and 1904 when it was celebrated on a Thursday in November); from 1908 to 1921 on a Monday in October; and between 1922 and 1930 the Armistice Day Act declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on Armistice Day, the Monday of November 11. In 1931 the Act was amended and the old practice of Parliament declaring a day of Thanksgiving each year was resumed.
On January 31, 1957 Parliament issued a proclamation to fix permanently the second Monday in October as “a day of general Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.”
Much like the United States” Thanksgiving Day, the Canadian celebration includes parades and festive meals, often including turkey and all the “fixins.” Yet, again, at the heart of the celebration is the idea of giving thanks for the goodness of the season past.