Thanksgiving in Canada

Thanksgiving in 2018 is Monday, October 8.

Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday of October each year and it's an official statutory holiday - except in PEI, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia - however federally regulated institutions do observe Thanksgiving in those provinces too. In the US thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November.

The original idea is to give thanks for the past harvest season but for many Canadian families the tradition has changed over time and the focus is now to get together with family and eat a large turkey dinner. Apple cider is a must for any traditional thanksgiving celebration as well as turkey stuffing and pumpkin pie.

The first Thanksgiving holiday was held in Canada in 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales from a serious illness. After 1879 celebrations were held every year but not always in October - it used to be observed around Armistice Day in November.

At the Crawford Lake conservation area (Milton, ON) a path around the lake has pictures and short stories of native people and their celebrations. One of the stories is about thanksgiving; it starts with this sentence:

"Thanksgiving to native indians was a way of everyday life rather than a one-day celebration."

Take a few minutes to think about this quote. Thank you.

Back to the list of Canadian statutory holidays.

Share your holiday story, idea or comments

What are your plans for the thanksgiving long weekend? What did you do last year? What are you favourite activities in October? Do you have any comments or ideas related to thanksgiving in Canada?

Post your comments

Recent comments
Posted by Sadie:

LogicalJim - I always thought that the difference in dates between Canada and the US was due to the timing of our harvests. Being farther north, Canada's harvest is earlier.

Posted by LogicalJim:

With so many Canadians having relatives or dear friends in the U.S.A. I have often wondered why this day has should be so far apart in each of our counties? Is there any reason for this difference? If so, I'd be happy to hear a logical explanation.

Posted by Akhlaq :

Thanksgiving a day selected to sit together exchange greetings bring something at your choice and serve by the persons whose house you gather. Enjoy relax make good wishes for others around you. A sign of love cooperation and affiliation. A good day became rememberence. We done.


We can have thankful hearts toward God even when we do not feel thankful for the circumstance. We can grieve and still be thankful. We can hurt and still be thankful. We can be angry at sin and still be thankful toward God. That is what the Bible calls a “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). Giving thanks to God keeps our hearts in right relationship with Him and saves us from a host of harmful emotions and attitudes that will rob us of the peace God wants us to experience (Philippians 4:6–7).


I am thankful that governments have learned over the years a better way to negotiate disputes between countries than war. Mahamid Gandhi once said "It isn't violence or nonviolence, it is nonviolence or self destruction." Maybe it all starts in our very own back yard...

Posted by Feeling Sad:

I guess our Maritime Provinces don't have much to be thankful for! Why isn't it a stat holiday in our provinces. I know that in PEI the government recognizes it but no other employer is forced to recognize it, why? I believe we have a lot to be thankful for and it is unfortunate that we can't be home to celebrate our blessings with our family on this day.

View all comments

Feedback & ideas