Each year, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in the month of October in Canada. The national public holiday celebrates the harvest and fortune brought to the country of Canada.
Many people have the day off work, and schools are mostly closed. Read on to learn more about the holiday, and what is open and closed.
What’s Open and Closed
In general, Thanksgiving in Canada is a national public holiday and most people have the day off work and schools and post offices are closed. A number of stores and local businesses will also be closed. While you can rely on public transport to keep you going, they may be running on a reduced timetable, so check the schedules of your local public transport options.
According to Time and Date, in New Brunswick, specifically, Thanksgiving is a “prescribed day of rest”, meaning that employees have a legal right to refuse work.
In Canada, many grocery stores and markets will be open, as will many shopping locations, pharmacies, and outlets, according to CBC. When it comes to grocery stores, be sure to check the specific location of the store near you to make sure it is operating under a normal schedule.
In Toronto, GO Transit will run on a Sunday service schedule. The TTC will run on a holiday service schedule.
Major tourist attractions, which include everything from the Royal Ontario Museum to the Toronto Zoo, will remain open.
Government offices and the post office and banks will be closed.
When it comes to public transit, buses will be operating on holiday hours, so check your local bus schedule. Some commuter train lines will not be operating on Thanksgiving Monday.
The municipal courthouse will be closed.
History of Canadian Thanksgiving
Canadian Thanksgiving dates back to 1578, when Martin Frobisher set out to find the Northwest Passage. While that trip turned out to be dangerous and largely unsuccessful, in the early 17th century, captain Samuel de Champlain arrived in what is today, Canada. They started to host feasts that included local plants and animals, reports Holidays Calendar.
Canadian Thanksgiving became an official holiday in 1879. At the time, it was celebrated on November 6. In 1957, however, this all changed and the day came to be celebrated on the second Monday in October. As the celebrations fall on a Monday, a number of families tend to celebrate the entire weekend, with parties and get-togethers on Saturday and Sunday before the actual Monday.
How is the holiday different than in the US? While the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth in 1621 (and these are the roots of the American Thanksgiving holiday), Sir Martin Frobisher made his way to Canadian territory in 1578. And while turkey is a popular go-to for a Thanksgiving meal in Canada, many Canadians choose to celebrate with split-pea pudding, Jiggs’ dinner, and butter tarts.
And unlike in the US, the holiday is not celebrated as an official statutory holiday in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.