Celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in Vancouver

You Can Eat and Watch Football to Excess

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Photo © Robert Benson / Getty Images

Thanksgiving is a public holiday in Canada, which is called "statutory" in Canada. It falls on the second Monday of October every year. In 2017, Canadian Thanksgiving is Monday, Oct. 9. It's a great time to welcome the fall season with comfort food that's seasonal and watch some football. Or if you want to avoid the football-watching tradition, there's always shopping. Many stores are open in Vancouver on Thanksgiving, so you won't be limited if that floats your boat.

Celebrating Thanksgiving in Vancouver

Like all Canadians, most Vancouver residents celebrate Thanksgiving at home with their families, where they often serve up a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving meal of roasted turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. For some, watching football is another Thanksgiving tradition: the Canadian Football League has a nationally televised double-header on Thanksgiving called the Thanksgiving Day Classic.

If you're making your own Thanksgiving meal in Vancouver, you can buy fresh produce at Vancouver farmers markets or go pumpkin picking before the holiday. If you prefer to have a traditional Thanksgiving menu out and leave the cooking to others, many Vancouver restaurants have Thanksgiving meal deals.

What's Closed on Thanksgiving in Vancouver

Because Thanksgiving is a public holiday, government offices are closed on Thanksgiving Day, as are schools, banks, libraries, and most BC Liquor Stores. To find out which BC Liquor Stores are open on Thanksgiving Monday, check the BC Liquor Stores website.

What's Open on Thanksgiving in Vancouver

Most shops, stores, and supermarkets are open on Thanksgiving Monday in Vancouver, particularly the large chain stores and shops in major shopping districts, like Downtown's Robson Street. You can definitely shop on Thanksgiving Monday in Vancouver in the top 10 places to shop in Vancouver.

Public parks, including Stanley Park and Queen Elizabeth Park, are open and nice places to go if the weather is nice, as are the top 10 Vancouver attractions. For fun stuff to do when you're not eating or watching football, check out October events in Vancouver.

Traveling From Vancouver Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Because Thanksgiving Monday is part of a three-day weekend, many Vancouverites travel outside the city. The United States is a popular destination, so expect increased border wait times at the Peace Arch and Pacific Highway Border crossings and plan ahead accordingly. Other popular Vancouver weekend getaways include trips to Vancouver Island and Victoria, the British Columbia interior, and resorts near v
Vancouver, like Whistler and Grouse Mountain.

History of Canadian Thanksgiving

Canadian Thanksgiving became a public holiday in 1957, but it has its roots in much older traditions. It is partly linked to European and First Nations harvest festivals and partly to the English explorer Martin Frobisher's 1578 voyage to Canada in search of the Northwest Passage. Frobisher's trip was plagued with such severe weather and ice that when he and his men reunited in Frobisher's Bay (in Nunavut), they held the first ceremonial Thanksgiving to thank God and for their "strange and miraculous deliverance."