Happy Thanksgiving … and tasty pumpkin pie!

Thanksgiving in Canada is a cherished national holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October. It is a time for Canadians to come together with family and friends, giving thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year. This article will delve into the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving, its cultural significance, traditional foods, and provide a delightful pumpkin pie recipe to add a sweet touch to your celebration.

The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving

The roots of Canadian Thanksgiving can be traced back to English explorer Martin Frobisher, who held a feast in 1578 to give thanks for his safe arrival in what is now known as Newfoundland. However, it wasn’t until 1879 that Thanksgiving was officially recognized as a national holiday. It was first celebrated on November 6th and later moved to the second Monday of October in 1957.

Today, Canadians use this holiday to express gratitude for the bounty of the harvest season and to spend quality time with loved ones. It is a time of reflection and appreciation for the beauty of nature and the abundance it provides.

Traditions and customs

Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together, often traveling long distances to share a special meal and enjoy each other’s company.

Harvest Decorations

Homes are adorned with autumn-themed decorations, including pumpkins, gourds, cornucopias, and fall foliage, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.


A sumptuous feast is the centerpiece of Canadian Thanksgiving. Traditional dishes include roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a variety of seasonal vegetables.

Giving Thanks

Before the meal, it is customary for everyone to express what they are thankful for. This heartfelt tradition fosters gratitude and strengthens the bonds between family members.


Traditional foods

Roast turkey

The turkey takes center stage at Canadian Thanksgiving dinners. It is often seasoned with a blend of herbs and roasted to perfection, creating a delicious and succulent centerpiece.


Made from a mixture of bread, herbs, vegetables, and often sausage, stuffing is a flavorful side dish that complements the turkey.

Mashed potatoes

Creamy and buttery mashed potatoes are a beloved accompaniment to the main course.

Cranberry sauce

This sweet and tart condiment adds a burst of flavor to the meal and complements the richness of the turkey.

Pumpkin pie

A quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie is a delightful combination of spiced pumpkin filling in a flaky pie crust.


Pumpkin pie recipe


For the pie crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¼ cup ice water

For the filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk


  1. In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add ice water and pulse until the dough comes together.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  4. Roll out the chilled pie dough and transfer it to a 9-inch pie dish. Trim and crimp the edges.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, spices, and salt.
  6. Beat in the eggs, then gradually stir in the evaporated milk.
  7. Pour the filling into the pie crust.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F (220°C), then reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.

Canadian Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition that brings families together in gratitude and celebration. With a history rooted in giving thanks for the harvest, this holiday emphasizes the importance of appreciating life’s blessings. Incorporating traditional dishes like roast turkey and pumpkin pie into your celebration can enhance the experience and create lasting memories with loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving! … And enjoy your pumpkin pie!

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