You will have to forgive my total admittance of ignorance when I say that up until a couple of years ago there were a couple of things I didn’t know about Thanksgiving in Canada. 1-They even had a Thanksgiving, and 2-what they were thankful for. Having grown up always hearing about American Thanksgiving and the traditions and events surrounding it, and knowing that back in England we never had one, I had assumed that it was only America who celebrated this holiday. So, arriving in Canada I was very pleased to hear that I would be able to get my fix of turkey in before having to wait until the Christmas season! While Canadian Thanksgiving has many similar traditions to its Southern neighbour, the key part is different…the meaning! It is a celebration at the close of the harvest season for the successful crop of the year and more to come. Hence the explosion of pumpkins everywhere. In England we also celebrate the harvest weekend–but its more like taking a few root vegetables to church with some wheat and making it look pretty, and then your day continues as it always would.
Here, pumpkins appear to be a rite of passage, if you don’t have pumpkin you might not as well just leave. Canadians go crazy for the stuff! Imagine that compilation in Forrest Gump when Bubba is telling Forest all about the different kind of ways you can eat shrimp-well, that’s not too dissimilar to pumpkin in Canada. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin mousse cake, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin
scones, pumpkin mash, pumpkin stuffing, pumpkin soup-you get the idea! Pumpkins go into everything, as well as decorating kitchen tables, sidewalk corners, front porches, restaurants, churches and so on! It’s lucky to be such a colourful fun *fruit*.
Families gather together from all corners of the country for their traditional weekend-whether it’s at a cottage, crammed into a relative’s dining room, out in the fresh air for walks or watching the Thanksgiving sports weekend.
Now, for this Thanksgiving, the weather gods seemed to be rewarding Ontario with some of the best weather October has seen in a while. Feeling more like July 10th than October, everyone was outside for the weekend, sporting shorts, sundresses and flip flops, with beaches and parks packed for one last weekend of warm sunshine. I decided to also take full advantage and headed out on a bike trip for the day around Ottawa.
Having lived here for over a year and a half now, I decided it was time to go take the obligatory tourist pictures. Hitting the beautiful Byward market, and then taking the road out along all the ambassadors’ houses, embassies and parklands was a perfect way to spend the day outdoors; made even more picturesque by the seasonal golden, pinks, yellows and reds of the maple and other trees lining all paths. That night was full of rewarding drinks on a patio resulting in me missing my bus the next morning to a near-by town which is alleged to be a fun quirky town on the edge of the Gatineau Park. Still determined to be outdoors in the sun, my boyfriend and I enjoyed a bottle of wine and picnic on the grasses along the canal with our backdrop as the parliament buildings. But….still no pumpkin in my weekend!
Deciding that as we hadn’t done anything ‘traditional’ yet for thanksgiving we decided to hit up a restaurant with a friend for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings….finally some pumpkin pie! Returning home with full bellies and a slight tan from the weekend left me very thankful for a number of things…including all the pumpkins. Now it’s onto carving them all for Halloween!