Canadian Thanksgiving 2017 Overview
Like the United States, Canada gives thanks for its good fortune once a year and the population eats itself silly with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.
Whereas American Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, in Canada the second Monday of October is a statutory, or public, holiday.
This year, Canadian Thanksgiving falls on Monday, Oct 9, 2017.
The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday is officially observed on the second Monday of October, however people generally get together for their Thanksgiving meal on any one of the three days of this three-day holiday weekend.
Although Canadians do tend to get together on Thanksgiving weekend, the holiday is not as big a celebration in Canada as it is in the U.S., where Thanksgiving is the year's biggest holiday occasion. Nevertheless, Thanksgiving weekend is a popular time for Canadians to gather with family, so more people than usual are traveling on that weekend.
Canadian Thanksgiving: A Brief History
The first government sanctioned Thanksgiving holiday in Canada took place in November 1879, though it wasn't until 1957 that the date was set to the second Monday each October.
In fact, though Thanksgiving is so closely associated with celebrations in the United States, the very first Thanksgiving is thought to have occurred in Canada, in 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher touched down in the Canadian Arctic after crossing the Pacific Ocean in search of the Northwest Passage.
This first is disputed by some because the thanks being given was not for a successful harvest but for staying alive after a long, dangerous journey.
Thanksgiving in Quebec
In Quebec, Thanksgiving, or, action de grâce as it is known there, is quite a different holiday altogether. Though celebrated by the English-speaking population in Quebec, Thanksgiving is not really observed by French Canadians who do not carry on with turkey and family get-togethers.
Black Friday in Canada
Traditionally, Canada has not had a big shopping day after Thanksgiving the way the United States does. This has changed since about 2014 when stores in Canada began offering big discounts, especially targeted at Christmas shoppers, on the day after American Thanksgiving.
Though still not the shopping phenomenon that it is in the U.S., Black Friday as of 2015 saw major shopping malls open early and attract more shoppers than usual, even requiring police presence and traffic and parking supervisors.
Boxing Day - December 26th - is the equivalent to the American Black Friday in terms of sales and shopping extravaganzas in Canada.
Like other public holidays in Canada, many businesses and services shut down, though Quebec sees fewer closures.
When is the Thanksgiving Holiday in Canada?
2015: Monday, Oct 12
2016: Monday, Oct 10
2017: Monday, Oct 9
2018: Monday, Oct 8
2019: Monday, Oct 14