Thanksgiving Day in Canada, also referred to as “Action de grâce” in the French-speaking provinces, shares many similarities with the American holiday by the same name that takes place every November. However, that doesn’t mean they provide the same experience. Held every second Monday in October, the Canadian holiday is a celebration of the harvest and other blessings that were experienced over the course of the previous year.
While being invited into the home of someone who lives in the Niagara region to celebrate the holiday would give you the surest taste of a Canadian Thanksgiving, there are still plenty of reasons to plan a trip around this celebratory holiday. Here are a few of them.
Eat your first Thanksgiving meal at the Queenston Heights Restaurant, where you and your crew can enjoy a spectacular view of the Niagara River. Known throughout the region for offering an award-winning Sunday brunch, the restaurant’s Thanksgiving brunch place on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Bounteous and fine fare is served buffet-style, and past menus have included Roasted Squash Soup, Smoked Ham, Eggs Benedict, Lasagna, a myriad of pies, and warm bread pudding just to name a few items from the spread. The best part is: You don’t have to get up early or make it your first stop of the day. Brunch lasts from 11:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., which means making your way to it can be just as leisurely as you want it to be.
You may need to take a long walk between the two, but after you’ve enjoyed brunch, another opportunity to get a Thanksgiving meal arises with Thanksgiving Dinner at Elements on the Falls. Located at the edge of the Horseshoe Falls, this contemporary restaurant offers world-class views and open-flame cooking. Locally sourced, the food at Elements is always top-notch, but the Thanksgiving feast out-does itself.
Reasonably priced for the quality of the meal, you can usually enjoy a three-course Thanksgiving dinner at this restaurant for around $30 per person. Of course, be sure to add in some of their excellent VQA wines. It will up the price, but the experience of eating local food and drinking local wine in celebration of Thanksgiving is worth every penny.
While many families have their own traditions that are specific unto themselves, one thing many Canadians do on their Thanksgiving Monday off is go for a walk or nature hike. The air is often crisp and cool without being cold, and the leaves are almost always breathtaking. It’s a great way to pause and in the midst of the fertile world, be grateful for family and friends. Another tradition is to go around the table before the start of the Thanksgiving meal and have everyone state what they’re grateful for.
Finally, just like in America, it’s nice to kick back and relax with some television after the big meal — Canadian football is almost always the top choice. While you can certainly enjoy a game in your hotel room, you may want to head to one of the local sports bars to watch a game with other celebrating locals.
Just one more reason to venture to Niagara during the beautiful month of October, Canadian Thanksgiving is a holiday anyone can enjoy.