google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The History of the Canadian Thanksgiving | The Armchair Genealogist

The History of the Canadian Thanksgiving

Every second Monday in October, that being today, Canadians gather to give thanks.

The History of the Canadian Thanksgiving has its own origins separate from the American Thanksgiving. The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Northern America. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This was considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him called Frobisher Bay.

French settlers also having crossed the ocean and arriving in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain held huge feasts of thanks and shared their food with their Indian neighbours.

During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. Resulting in the many similarities, the two holidays share today.

In 1879, Parliament declared November 6th a day of Thanksgiving and a national holiday. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving, the most popular was the 3rd Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day and remains to be celebrated every year on November 11th.

On January 31st, 1957, Parliament proclaimed...
"A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

Today, Thanksgiving is a day to not only give thanks for the bountiful harvest, but for all the wonderful benefits that come with living in such a great country, and for the grace of sharing it with family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!