Canadian Thanksgiving

Monday is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Here in the US it is Columbus Day.

For my thoughts about Columbus Day you can visit my post from last year: Holiday Monday

This year I will share a few bits of information about Thanksgiving in Canada.

First, if you are wondering what a Thanksgiving meal is like in Canada, I found that it is very similar to our Thanksgiving meal here in the US. There are some regional variations just as we have here in the US, but Turkey is still the star of the meal in most of Canada.

Thanksgiving Turkey - Thanksgiving Feast - Canadian Thanksgiving

The turkey in Canada is more likely to be stuffed with rice, which is also a common stuffing in the northern part of the US.

Pumpkin Pie - Thanksgiving Feast - Canadian Thanksgiving

Pumpkin pie is also a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving dish, but it is usually full of spices instead of being a sweet custard in the US.

Another variation is in sweet potatoes. In Canada they are more likely to bake and mash them whereas we will make a sweet potato casserole with a marshmallow topping that is too sweet for my taste.

The exact origin of Thanksgiving in the US is disputed, but traditionally it is the 1621 feast by the Pilgrims in Plymouth. You can read more about it in my post Pilgrim Ancestry. Or, you can wait until next month when I will write another post about it with some updated research.

For Canada, Thanksgiving is usually traced to a Thanksgiving feast held by Sir Martin Frobisher and his crew in 1578.

The feast was held on the Countess of Warwick’s Island. Today the island is known as Kodlunarn Island. The island is just off the shore of Baffin Island in Frobisher Bay.

Frobisher Bay - Kodlunarn Island - First Thanksgiving - Martin Frobisher - Canadian Thanksgiving

Google Maps

The large inlet in the picture is Frobisher Bay. The pin marks the location of Kodlunarn Island.

Frobisher Bay - Kodlunarn Island - First Thanksgiving - Martin Frobisher - Canadian Thanksgiving

Google Maps

Here is a map for those of us who are not as familiar with Canadian geography. You can see that Frobisher Bay is very far to the north.

I found out a very interesting fact about Frobisher. He made three voyages or expeditions to Canada. On his first voyage he was looking for a Northwest Passage. The winter weather prevented him from going too far and he ended up in what is today Frobisher Bay. While there his men picked up some interesting looking rocks. When he was back in England several experts looked at the rocks. One of the experts said that it was gold-bearing and another expedition was put together.

The next two expeditions brought back several hundred tons of iron pyrite. You may know this by the more common name of Fools Gold.

Oh, back to Canadian Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in Canada today has close ties to the Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth.

Two big events brought Thanksgiving traditions from New England to Canada. The first was the expulsion of the Acadians from New Brunswick in the 1750’s. A large number of settlers from New England moved to New Brunswick in th 1750’s and 1760’s bringing their Thanksgiving traditions with them. I have ancestors that were in this group. You can read more about them in: Almost Canadian?

The second big event was the Revolutionary War. Many Loyalists moved to Canada after the war and they also brought their Thanksgiving traditions with them. Some of the cousins of my ancestors were in this group.

I am in the middle of researching several other Canadian connections in my Family History, but they will have to wait for more research and a future post.

I will just miss Canadian Thanksgiving as I will not be heading north until later in the week.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and readers!


This entry was posted in Canada, Culture, Family History, Food, Genealogy, History, Holidays and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Canadian Thanksgiving

  1. Lyle Krahn says:

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving even if you’re not here yet!

  2. gpcox says:

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Hope you all have a wonderful day.

  3. That Canadian food looks so tasty! I love anything made with sweet potatoes — casserole, pie or whatever. What can I say — I yam what I yam. 😉

    Looking forward to your Canadian posts.

  4. Elle Knowles says:

    Oh…those pictures! Time to start thinking of our Thanksgiving – but first I made need a snack! LOL

  5. Happy Thanksgiving — never too early to be grateful. Glad Canada gets a jump on us in that respect.

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