Mudcat Café message #1580951 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85316   Message #1580951
Posted By: *daylia*
11-Oct-05 - 10:10 AM
Thread Name: BS: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
Subject: RE: BS: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
Well, for those with a burning need to know, here's the official Proclamation and Observance of General Thanksgiving Days and reasons therefore (Canadian Heritage pages, CBC)

Apparently the first "official" Thanksgiving Day here was in Lower Canada (Quebec) on Jan 10, 1799, "In signal victory over our enemy and for the manifold and inestimable blessings which our Kingdoms and Provinces have received and daily continue to receive."

In Upper Canada (Ontario), the first Thanksgiving was observed June 18 1816, in gratitude for the end of the war between Great Britain and France. After Confederation, the first Thanksgiving was April 15 1872, "for the restoration to health of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales".

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the dates for officially proclaimed Thanksgiving celebrations seem to be all over the map, and the reasons included:

"End of the war with the United States of America and restoration of the blessings of Peace" (April 6, 1815)

"For God's mercies and cessation of grievous disease" (Jan 3 1850)

and "Blessings of an abundant harvest" (Oct 18, 1920)

In 1957, the second Monday of Oct was fixed by proclamation as the official Thanksgiving Day, "For general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessings with which the people of Canada have been favoured."

All very interesting, but I have read other accounts which state that the peoples of Canada celebrated the traditional European harvest festival of Thanksgiving long before it was ever declared by official statute. One such article claims that the explorer Martin Frobisher celebrated the first Thanksgiving here when he landed in Newfoundland in the 1500's, in gratitude for a safe and successful voyage. And that was WAY (and I do mean way!) before Plymouth Rock!    :-)

ANd whether or not this has anything to do with traditional Thanksgiving menus, I do know that wild turkeys were hunted to extinction here in Ontario in the 1900's. A few American turkeys were re-introduced into the wild here about 10 years ago though - and now, flocks (or is it "gaggles"??) of wild turkeys are a common sight in my locale.

I remember the first time I came across one, out for a run on the hiking trails through the forest nearby. Just about had a cardiac - I'd never seen a bird that large on the ground before. Thought it was an ostrich at first!