Thanksgiving in Canada comes a month early compared to our friends in the US. Origins can be dated back to 1578 and the voyage of Martin Frobisher searching for the Northwest Passage. Samuel de Champlain held many festival of celebration of thanks and established the Order of Good Cheer in sharing their food with the First Nation.
At one point Upper and Lower Canada celebrated Thanksgiving at different times. After the American Revolution, refugees that remained loyal to Britain brought customs and traditions north to Canada. Its date fluctuated until 1957 when the second Monday in October became a national statutory holiday. The theme became a celebration of the abundant harvest and thankfulness of all we are blessed with.
Our family gathering’s origin comes from an event long before my participation. During the 1960’s, my in-laws would have a fall party they entitled The Turkey Shoot. The day long party centered around the men target shooting for bragging rights and the prize of a turkey for
Thanksgiving. Its day had long passed and would have probably remained a memory if not for the creativity of my brother-in-law. We decided in 1989 to make Thanksgiving our event and resurrected The Turkey Shoot. Christmas would be for our immediate nest, but Thanksgiving would be the whole family, extended, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends, dogs, basically everybody that makes us who we are. There would be no presents and no expectations other than being together to be together. We would eat, and eat well, have drinks, tell stories and rehash laughs and tears, sit up too late around the fire and just be us. I have to say in 24 years I have no memory of disagreements, attitudes or fights. I am very proud of us all. Understand that some years have been good with new arrivals and life events; others have not been so good. People, important people, loved ones that have been with us and should still be with us are gone in body but still sitting around the fire with us. Our Thanksgiving is about family.
We have our target competition, horseshoe pitch, archery, and have even taken to setting Chinese lanterns into the sky late at night with messages to those that we wish were there.
I can talk about the food but we’ll let the pictures do that. There’s not a lot of late evening photos because no one really wants to see us dancing to Journey or rolling downhill off an unbalanced chair. Actually you probably do but what happens at the farm stays at the farm.
To all my friends, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. To all south of the border and anticipating yours, I wish you happiness and the warm embrace of your family and friends.