Montreal Thanksgiving / Action de Grâce

Do We Actually Celebrate Thanksgiving in Montreal?

Montreal thanksgiving, Quebec's action de grâce and Canadian Thanksgiving are one in the same. But do we celebrate either?
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Montreal Thanksgiving: Do We Do Action de Grâce?

If you're already well-acquainted with the ways of Montreal and Quebec, then you already know locals do things a little differently here, at least compared to the rest of North America. Canadian Thanksgiving is one of those things. And that's not even what it's called. In Quebec, Thanksgiving is action de grâce, French for ''action of grace.''

Canadian Thanksgiving, and action de grâce, are held every second Monday of October and it's technically a statutory holiday. In 2018, Canadian Thanksgiving is on October 8 and in 2019, it's on October 7.

But the question isn't so much when does Montreal celebrate Thanksgiving, it's more along the lines of is there a Montreal Thanksgiving at all.

And the answer depends entirely on whom you ask.

Spit It Out Already

To give you an idea of where I'm going with this, consider the following anecdote collected by yours truly the afternoon of October 7, 2009, when I was within eavesdropping distance of two teen girls who were chatting in French at a Monkland Avenue bus stop in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood, days before the upcoming holiday weekend. Their exchange was rather telling:

- "You celebrating Thanksgiving?"
- "No. You?"
- "Nope. Who does?"
- "Dunno. I don't even like turkey."

So... Is That a No?

If you define the holiday by turkey and family, well, the first holiday "roast turkey style" dinner I've ever recalled having was with friends at the age of 19. And that was Christmas

But if you define Thanksgiving as more of an extended weekend with a smidgen of family and/or friends intent on a day of food consumption more likely to involve smoked mackerel than a whole turkey with yams, then yes, we do celebrate Thanksgiving in Montreal.

Even the province of Quebec's regulations for commercial hours of operation allowed in Quebec during statutory holidays is looser on Canadian Thanksgiving than any other holiday during the calendar year, barring Canada Day.

But really? There's no rule nor standard tradition to the season in this city. Some locals do go all out on Canadian Thanksgiving, roasting the bird, mashing the potatoes, and slopping cranberries on the lot. And yet others don't. It really depends on the person and family. 

What is universal is born-and-bred Quebecers are not nearly as collectively gung-ho about Thanksgiving as the rest of North America.

And regardless of what's served on Thanksgiving, Montrealers do share one thing in common: locals love to eat well. Really well. And farmer's markets are among our favorite places to stock up for a big dinner with family and/or friends.

More on Canadian Thanksgiving in Montreal

Find out what's open and closed during Canadian Thanksgiving in Montreal. Consult this complete guide to Canadian Thanksgiving in Montreal for a global view of the holiday weekend. And plan for a great weekend in the city with these top recommendations on what to do in Montreal Thanksgiving weekend.

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