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Oct. 12 2009 - 11:15 am | 14 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada

Young onlookers watch the Turkey Trot in Vancouver. Sue Frause photo.

Young onlookers watch the Turkey Trot in Vancouver. Sue Frause photo.

Canada beats us when it comes to Thanksgiving. Our friends north of the 49th parallel celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, while we wait until the fourth Thursday of November. This year, Thanksgiving in Canada is Oct. 12, 2009.

I wasn’t aware that Canada celebrated Thanksgiving until back in the ’70s when Canadian friends invited us to a big feast at a house they rented on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. And yes, they had turkey, along with all the other tasty components that make up a Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day was designated a national holiday by the Canadian Parliament in 1957. Today, all but three provinces acknowledge it: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Unlike in the states, Canadians don’t generally sit down to the big meal on the actual holiday — many celebrate with Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday or Sunday before. In fact, it’s more about enjoying a three-day weekend. But like Americans, they add football to the mix. The Canadian Football League’s Thanksgiving Day Classic is a double header on Monday afternoon.

I spent Canadian Thanksgiving in Vancouver, BC several years ago. It was a rainy weekend, but I was tucked in to a B&B with a quirky name, The Corkscrew Inn. Located in the Kitsilano neighborhood on Vancouver’s west side, it’s a fun area to spend a few days, and you can walk to area restaurants and shops. I dined at Quattro on Fourth and Bishop’s; shopped at Barbara-Jo’s Books To Cooks, an independent bookstore that specializes in cookbooks; and found a store that sells hundreds and hundreds of cool reading glasses.

Fifth Avenue Cinemas has quality, first-run films; Solarice Wellness Spas is a cool spa housed in a former bank building (try their Aromatic Swiss Steam and Massage); and for walkers, head to Granville Island. On Thanksgiving morning I walked there in the rain to watch the annual Turkey Trot.

Oh, you Canucks!


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    While Thanksgiving is not designated as a statutory holiday in Nova Scotia, it is a designated retail closing day so family and friends can gather to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. If travellers are looking for shopping on the Thanksgiving holiday Monday, they will find retail stores are closed in the Province. Thanksgiving in Nova Scotia is like the rest of Canada, with family and friends gathering for a feast as the leaves turn an autumn hue.

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    I'm a professional freelance writer and photographer who has been in the journalism 'biz since 1988. I live on a small farm on an island in Puget Sound with my husband, chickens, turkeys and our very own field of dreams. When I'm not packing and unpacking from exploring the seven continents (yup, I've done 'em all), I enjoy theater, movies, jazz, fine food, heavenly spas and long dinner parties with my family and friends. Oh, I grew up in the '60s and I sort of remember it through the haze.

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