Turn northward and wish Canadians, ‘Happy Thanksgiving!’

Shopping for pumpkins at an open market in Ottawa. (Photo by Lars Plougmann, released via Wikimedia Commons.)

Shopping for pumpkins at an open market in Ottawa. (Photo by Lars Plougmann, released via Wikimedia Commons.)

MONDAY, OCTOBER 14: Canadian Thanksgiving memories go back many centuries—as do the stories more familiar to Americans. After surviving dire conditions on the Atlantic, expeditions in the late 1500s and early 1600s celebrated what amounted to a Thanksgiving. However, more recent celebrations literally hopped all over the calendar—landing as early as April before settling on the second Monday in October by national decree in 1957.

Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations mirror American customs—but, as our friends to the North would say: “Just less of it.” By that, they mean that there is Canadian football, but less than in the U.S. There is a special shopping day, but it’s a bit more low key.

Most Canadian families expect turkey, mashed potatoes and other autumn side dishes. But, as various Canadian columnists have been pointing out: Many Canadian families feast on other foods, these days. Check out this column by Gordon Campbell, Canada’s top official in the UK, writing about many of the innovative foods that may wind up as valuable Canadian exports.

In contrast to the politically stalled U.S., Canadian National Parks will be doing banner business today—many of them offering special holiday programs.

Planning to visit Canada? The Canadian government warns that border crossings will be slow, due to the increased holiday traffic.

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