Niagara Gazette — If you happen to spot more than the average number of Ontario license plates on our side of the border this weekend, it’s for a valid reason. Canadians will celebrate Thanksgiving (always the second Monday) and either before or after dinner — maybe during — many probably will be cross-border shopping.
In the event you’ve been living on another planet. Canadians have a different day than ours (the fourth Thursday in November) for Thanksgiving.
What I’ve observed over the years — my impression shaped by more than a dozen relatives living in southwestern Ontario — is that even though turkey is popular in Canada for Thanksgiving, it’s not required. In fact, you’ll find families, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, dining on ham, dim sum in steamed baskets, or maybe chicken, among other offerings.
Although not as big a celebration as in the U.S., it’s a time Canadians cherish to get together with family. And, unlike Americans, Canadians don’t stay up all night or get up the day after Thanksgiving at 5 a.m. to be first in line at the big box stores.
For the record, there is no Black Friday in Canada, that mad-dash in the U.S. to mark the start of the Christmas shopping season. Canada does not have a big shopping day right after their feast. (After all, they shop 365 days in the U.S.)
The closest equivalent in Canada to the American frenzy, in terms of pushing, shoving and jumping lines, is Boxing Day, Dec. 26, when people are returning gifts or buying 50-percent off on wrapping paper and bulbs for next year.
Bill Nelson, a reporter with whom I worked many years ago, was totally frustrated when he tried to reach a source one Dec. 26 in Niagara Falls, Ont. After banging on the office door and ringing a bell countless times, Nelson asked a passerby, “Do you happen to know why this office is closed?” The response: “Sure, it’s Boxing Day ... everything’s closed.” Nelson shot back,” “Oh, guess I forgot. By the way, who won?”