10 Canadian Thanksgiving Traditions
What started out as a religious feast about giving thanks for a bountiful harvest, has evolved into one of the most important weekends on the Canadian calendar. But, you won’t find us roadside at a grand parade or waiting in line for any uber-sales; this is how we celebrate Thanksgiving in the true-north-strong-and-free.
By Dana Dougherty Reinke
We always go for a walk in the woods as a family, collecting colourful leaves on the way. When we get home we put them between two sheets of wax paper (covered with a tea towel) and iron them at a low setting. Then we use the waxed leaves to make beautiful arrangements and place cards for the table. — Dallas
Read More: Canada Vs. U.S. Thanksgiving: The Subtle Differences
We ShareWe head up to the cottage with a turkey in tow. We always invite our neighbours over, pull the tables together and two cultures unite! They are from Spain and they bring a few of their favorite dishes, and we prepare turkey with traditional sides: mashed potatoes, corn on the cob (with husks) and turnips. Our dinner lasts hours as we catch up and share the jokes that come in those silly festive crackers. Afterwards, we all sit out by the bonfire while the kids roast marshmallows and apples and we gaze at the stars. It is our favorite time of year. — Kate
We Give ThanksWhile it’s tough to get more than “turkey and stuffing” for an answer (especially if they’re really hungry), I still go around the table and force everyone to state what they’re thankful for. — Nadine
We RelaxWhat’s Thanksgiving without a little Canadian football action? There’s nothing better than lying on the couch in a turkey coma, watching the Toronto Argos take on the Montreal Alouettes. — Kerry
Photo-OpSomehow, we got into the tradition of going to the park every Thanksgiving weekend to take family photos. We’re just not together all that often anymore, and now I really cherish these fun pics — plus they’re so pretty with the fall colours. — Tracy
We FeastMy mother always has us all over. She works for days preparing turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes with so much butter and sour cream they’re loaded with calories. She also makes an old Ontario tradition — tomato aspic (jellied tomato juice done in a mold)!
I often wonder what will happen when my 74-year-old mother can't do all this. Will one of us step up and make the feast? Or will we all head to the Mandarin for dinner? — Laura
Traditions With a TwistWe usually hold Thanksgiving dinner at our family cottage. Like just about everyone else I know, we have turkey, carrots and mashed potatoes, but since my mom has a Polish background, we also have cabbage rolls, perogies, pickles and kielbasa. It's just not thanksgiving without the Polish food! — Lisa
We UniteSince my husband has seven siblings, Thanksgiving is a huge event; tables and chairs must always be rented and we’re always trying different seating configurations. My mother-in-law makes turkey and someone else brings ham, because there’s no way one turkey could feed all of us. Then we draw to see who our Kris Kringle will be at Christmas. — Kilby
Culture CulminationMy family is Italian and as weird as it sounds, we always start our turkey dinners with pasta — kind of a melding of two cultures. No joke! — Anita
Get PickyEvery year we go apple picking with my family. It’s a great way to be active with the family and my mother in-law always bakes fantastic apple pies for weeks to come! — Robyn
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