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  • Deanna Lennox

Thanksgiving Day in Canada and the US - What's Different?


Thanksgiving Dinner
Our Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner last year - a simple meal for two.

It’s that time of year again, and I’m jonesing for a big turkey dinner. Well it’s Thanksgiving in Canada, anyway. As a proud citizen of both the US and Canada, I have spent a lot of time on both sides of the 49th, including various Thanksgivings. If I had my act together as planned, I would be spending October 12th this year in Canada and heading down to Minnesota in November for round two. But since I don’t have my act together and life never goes as planned, I’m Seattle and there’s nary a turkey in sight. (The coffee and donuts are great, though.)


Thanksgiving in the US is a Way Bigger Deal

There are several differences between Thanksgiving in the US and Thanksgiving in Canada. Thanksgiving in the US is a BIG DEAL. It’s HUUUGE. It’s bigger than Christmas, it’s the time most people get together with their families and go home if they live far away. In Canada it’s more like another excuse to have a holiday and there’s some turkey thrown in. Sort of.


The Canadian holiday is always on the second Monday in October and you just get the Monday off. Which is fine, because Canadians have a holiday pretty much every month in the year. The US holiday is in the third week of November and you get the Thursday and Friday off which is HUUUUGE because you only get four days off in the whole year if you’re American. Okay, maybe five.

Canadian Thanksgiving is Perfectly Timed with the Change of Season

Up north the leaves are already beautiful shades of orange, yellow and red. Sometimes it even snows. In the US fall is often much later, depending on where you live. I lived in the NYC metro area, where the leaves usually change in late October. They might be gone by Thanksgiving, but there’s never snow and the weather is usually very mild.


Canada doesn’t do black Friday. Not officially anyway. Some retailers have started to include it in their marketing, but it’s not really a thing.


There’s also no football games in Canada around Thanksgiving. Canada has the CFL, but there’s no correlation between it and Thanksgiving. And there’s no Macy’s parade.


Essentially, Canadians are a little more chilled out. There’s still a turkey dinner, but it might be on smaller scale.

I’m longing to go down to Minnesota this November, but I’ve already done six weeks of quarantine this year, and that’s more than enough. I guess there’s always next year. Hmm.... I have a friend who’s an expert at brining and smoking turkey. Maybe I’ll sweet talk him into doing a meal on a different date.


Enjoy your thanksgiving, however and where ever you wish to do it. It may be a lot smaller this year, but there’s still plenty to be thankful for.

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