Canadian Thanksgiving


I’ve recently returned to this subject after several years of focusing on my Ontario cottaging history project. In fact, there is a small connection between the two topics, since Canadian Thanksgiving is customarily when Ontarians close up their cottages for the winter!

I am happy to have been part of Celebrating Canada, a collaborative research project that examined Canadian holidays and national celebrations from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The project led to a collection of articles, which the University of Toronto Press released to coincide with the sesquicentennial of Canadian Confederation in 2017. My contribution is an article that traces the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving Day. Click here to order your copy of the book.  A second volume of articles from the Celebrating Canada project was published in 2018.

I summarized my Celebrating Canada article in an op/ed piece that appeared in the Toronto Star on 9 October 2017. In 2018, the University of Toronto Press marked Thanksgiving Day by running an excerpt of my article on their blog.

To listen to an interview I did for Active History’s History Slam podcast during the Celebrating Canada workshop in September 2014, click here.

Over the years, my research on Canadian Thanksgiving has received considerable attention from the media. A few examples appear below.

“Why This Indigenous Radio Host Says It’s Time to Decolonize Thanksgiving,”, 10 October 2021.

“Canadians to Take ‘Pause’ This Thanksgiving in Light of Truth and Reconciliation Day: Expert,” Vancouver Is Awesome, 10 October 2021.

“The Surprising Reason Canadian Thanksgiving Is Different From the U.S. Version,” Time Magazine, 6 October 2017

“The Odd, Complicated History of Canadian Thanksgiving,” Maclean’s Magazine, 5 October 2017.

“For Canadians, Thanksgiving Is a ‘Quieter’ Affair in October,” The New York Times, 4 October 2016

“What Thanksgiving Says About America,” New Republic, 26 November 2015

“The Redemption of Canadian Thanksgiving,” Excalibur, 5 October 2012

“Thanksgiving–As Canadian as Pirates,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 October 2009

“Giving Thanks with Chilies and Basmati,” The Globe and Mail, 9 October 2004

“A Canadian Original or a U.S. Copy?” York University press release, 5 October 1999