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?”
Let’s not forget that it’s also a holiday for us Monday — Columbus Day.
WORTHY CAUSE: The annual Billiards for Books to benefit the Youngstown Free Library is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Brennan’s Irish Pub on Main Street in the village. To date, the tourney has raised more than $12,200 through the event and private donors, especially the Youngstown merchants.
“This is a great opportunity for people to show their support for the library and have a good time,” said Angelo Sarkees, a Lewiston resident and tournament commissioner. The two-person teams can be women, men or coed, The competition will be single elimination eight ball. Prizes include gift cards and donated items. Tom Patrick of the Friends of the Library is assisting Sarkees with the plans.
Donations for pool teams is $25 and $10 for patrons. Wrist bands will be issued and refreshments provided. For additional information, contact Bill Gallagher at 405-7359 (home) at 248-631-9189 (cell) or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACROSS THE BORDER: The Friends of Fort George and Parks Canada will hold a commemorative service at 2 p.m. today at the base of Brock’s Monument in Queenston Heights Park. The public is invited to the event in memory of those who fought and died there, Oct. 12, 1812, including Maj. Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, killed leading his troops up the steep hill. Guided tours for the battle site also are set for 11 a.m., noon, 3:30 and 4 p.m.
THE FLIP SIDE: If Will Rogers was still alive, he’d offer a different spin on the federal government shutdown. The syndicated columnist and humorist used to say, “It’s a good thing when Congress isn’t in session. That way, they can’t do any harm. It’s when they convene, we have to start worrying about the next mess they’ll create.
TRIVIA: What was the original name of the New York Yankees, founded in 1901, that became the New York Highlanders in 1903 and the Yankees in 1912?
Enjoy Columbus Day!
And Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbors to the west and north of the border!
Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.