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Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival
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Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival

According to some historians, the first celebration of Thanksgiving in North America occurred during the 1578 voyage of Martin Frobisher from England, in search of the Northwest Passage. (This is more than 40 years before the Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth for three days after their first harvest in 1621.)

His third voyage, to the Frobisher Bay area of Baffin Island in the present Canadian Territory of Nunavut, set out with the intention of starting a small settlement. His fleet of fifteen ships was outfitted with men, materials, and provisions. However, the loss of one of his ships through contact with ice, along with many of the building materials, was to prevent him from doing so.

The expedition was plagued by ice and freak storms, which at times scattered the fleet. On meeting again at their anchorage in Frobisher Bay, Mayster Wolfall, a learned man, appointed by Her Majesty's Counsel to be their minister and preacher, made unto them a godly sermon, exhorting them especially to be thankful to God for their strange and miraculous deliverance in those so dangerous places.

They celebrated Communion and "The celebration of divine mystery was the first sign, scale, and confirmation of Christ's name, death and passion ever known in all these quarters."

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival As we join with family and friends on October 14th to Celebrate Thanksgiving, we have so many reasons to be thankful. God has truly blessed us and the country of Canada, one of the best places in the world to live. We owe everything to Him and while we do thank Him every day with our prayers, let’s say some prayers to give Him thanks for what we are so blessed to have here in Canada.

When the family gets together this Thanksgiving, go around the table and ask everyone to say something that we should be thankful for by living in Canada. That conversation can be endless and here are just a few (50) reasons to give thanks to Him for Canada.

Just 50 of the Reasons to thank Him for our life in Canada

1. Space. We are the second largest country in the world, and our population density is only 3.7 people per square km. This includes ‘the ability to get away from everyone. There are places in Canada where you could be the only person for 100 km in any direction.

2. Freedom of speech is protected as a ‘fundamental freedom’ in Canada. Although there are a few exceptions to this, for the most part, Canadian can speak their minds freely.

3. Freedom in general. When the question of what are you grateful for about living in Canada is asked, the majority of people wrote FREEDOM. We do have a real sense of freedom here.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 4. Access to fresh water lakes. Canada has one fifth of the world’s freshwater in our lakes. Any many of these lakes are stunning to visit! ‘Lakes so big you can stand on the shore and forget it’s not an ocean.’

5. Two official languages. French and English are the two official languages of our country. On a global scale, French is less important than perhaps Spanish or Mandarin.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 6. Four seasons. It may sometimes feel like we only have 2, but we are blessed with a fall and spring. Many Canadians have been known to go for a scenic drive in the fall just to see how the leaves are changing colour.

7. Diverse geography. From oceans to mountains, and beaches to forests, Canada has an abundance of different topography. You can experience so many different types of natural resources in every province and territory.

8. Relatively peaceful. We are one of the 10 most peaceful countries in the world.

9. Access to medical care, for free. If you’ve ever travelled to the US or abroad without medical insurance, you could find yourself in serious financial trouble. Beyond the fact that we do pay for our health care with our taxes, we also have a very high standard of care.

10. Ease of travel. Even though our country is very big, it’s fairly easy to get from one end to another.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 11. Northern lights. You don’t even need to go that far north to see them. The best to see the Northern Lights in Canada? Whitehorse, Yukon, La Ronge, Saskatchewan, Muncho Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Battle Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, Dempster Highway, Yukon. Even areas along Georgian Bay offer good viewing as well.

12. Cultural diversity. This is one of the things to be grateful for about Canada. We have the chance to connect with people of many different cultures on a daily basis. We can choose to try food from other countries, made by those who are native to the country, without needing a passport.

13. Niagara Falls. The Canadian side of the Falls is considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World.

14. Indoor plumbing. It’s so easy to take for granted that we have toilets and showers in our homes.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 15. Public education. Our children can attend a public school in their neighbourhood, or take the school bus to one nearby. They can choose to apply for a dual language education, called French Immersion. And for French-speaking families in an English community, their children can also attend a full French school.

16. World-class post-secondary education. Many Canadian Universities fall in the top 200 Universities in North America, include Western, U of T, Dalhousie, McGill and McMaster University.

17. Diversity of animal species. There are currently over 7,000 different species of vertebrate animals and plants in Canada.

18. Kind and positive people. Canadians are generally very kind. We tend to over apologize. Most people you meet on the street will smile back when you give them a smile.

19. Patriotism. We Canadians are fiercely patriotic, in a good way. We love to celebrate Canada Day and we love to travel with the Canadian flag on our backpack. Meeting a fellow Canadian while travelling is like a mini family reunion within minutes.

20. Electricity. It’s very easy to take for granted that the lights turn on when we flip a switch. For many countries around the world, it’s not the norm. If you were around during the massive black-out in 2003, you might have a greater appreciation for the wonder of electricity here in Canada.

21. Basketball. In 1891 the game was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian who hailed from Almonte, Ontario. Where would the NBA be without Canada? We The North as our Toronto Raptors would say.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 22. Hockey. Hockey is now recognized as the National Winter Sport of Canada. The firm belief is that our Canadian hearts have been captured by hockey, and even women’s hockey has become a world class sport.

23. Baseball. Canada has just the one Major League baseball team, The Toronto Blue Jays. Our country loves baseball and every summer there are over 120,000 kids who participate in the sport. 1,750,000 people attended the games in 2019 at the Rogers Centre.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 24. Home of 10 different mountain ranges. Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Moutains, Laurentain Mountains, Davis Highlands, Tomgat Mountains, Innuitian Region Mountains, St Elias Mountains. Coast Mountains, Columbia Mountains and the Mackenzie Mountains

25. Preservation of green spaces. Canada is committed to protecting our wide open spaces and natural beauty. In the past 20 years, the total area protected has increased by about 70%, and in the last five years it has increased by almost 10% (source).

26. Innovation. The great news is that that the number of patents awarded to Canadians between 2005 and 2015 was on a strong upward path. We as Canadians are committed to innovation! And let’s not forget that Elon Musk’s mother is Canadian, and he studied a Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

27. A feeling of safety. One thing that came up again and again when people were asked why they are grateful to live in Canada, safety was number one. We have a feeling of safety here. Whether or not it’s a reality isn’t as important because the more we feel safe, the safer we are. Safety is a basic human need. Canada does well at fulfilling this need.

28. Opportunities for our children. In most major cities in Canada, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to our kids. We can enroll them in swimming, skating, skiing, hockey, gymnastics, dance, piano, violin, music, karate and other forms of martial arts, soccer, lacrosse, horseback riding, just to name a few. Even in smaller communities there are great opportunities for our kids.

29. Immigration. Another very controversial topic these days for sure. Canada has an average of 235,000 immigrants arriving every year. We are also among the countries in the world that accept most immigrants per capita.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 30. The Maple Leaf. The Maple Leaf is a symbol of Canada with a short history. Our current Canadian flag was only introduced in 1964 by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. We have created an affinity as Canadians for all things’ maple leaf.

31. Clean air. This one is so easy to take for granted! With the exception of a few smog days in the summer, we can breathe easy in Canada. Head out of the city and you’ll be breathing in pure, fresh and clean Canadian Air. In fact, our air is so good that a company has bottled it up and is selling it in China.

32. Abundance of food. When you visit a grocery store in Canada, the stores are filled with food. Some of it healthy, some of it not. We have an abundance of food to choose from, even during the long cold winters we face. The majority of Canadians have fridges full of food and pantries that are never bare.

33. Strong currency. In Canada, we have never had to worry about the devaluation of our currency. The Canadian dollar fluctuates greatly based on current oil prices and other economic factors.

34. World’s longest undefended border. The border between Canada and the US is the 49th parallel and is the world’s longest undefended border.

35. Relative safety from natural disasters. With the exception of flooding, we rarely experience many natural disasters in Canada.

36. Toilet paper. This seems like such a simple thing to be grateful for, however there are many countries in the world that have indoor plumbing, yet due to a civil war or other unrest – no access to toilet paper. Next time you grab the Costco sized value pack of TP, give thanks.

37. Theatre, Museums and Art Galleries. There are so many cultural opportunities in Canada. A favorite museum is the Royal Ontario Museum, or the ROM as it’s more commonly known. It’s a natural history museum in Toronto with special exhibitions several times a year. There are also world-class art galleries across Canada, including the Vancouver Art Gallery in BC.

38. Low infant mortality rates. Current estimated mortality rate in Canada is 4.6/1,000 live births. This is still fairly high for developed countries. Unfortunately the rate is much higher in Nunavut than the rest of Canada.

39. We are health conscious. In general, Canada is a healthy nation. Over the past several decades the overall mortality rate and life expectancy have improved considerably, and in general, Canada compares well with the other developed nations

40. Internet access. Canada has committed to making high-speed internet accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live. The CRTC has deemed that high-speed internet access is vital for all Canadians. Having this type of access for all Canadians will create more opportunities for global growth.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 41. The beautiful scenic driving. Driving for thirty minutes outside of any major city and you’ll find beautiful scenic driving. There are so many incredible landscapes across this country, that no matter where you drive outside of the city, it’s usually stunning.

42. Child labour laws. Thankfully, children in Canada are well protected by child labour laws.

43. Surrounded by oceans. Canada is surrounded by three oceans: The Pacific Ocean crashes on the shores of British Columbia, The Atlantic Ocean hugs the shores of Atlantic Canada and the Arctic Ocean surrounds the Northern Territories.

44. Sunsets on the beach. As mentioned many times, Canada is surrounded by water. With so many lakes and oceans, watching the sunset on the beach is a favourite Canadian pastime.

45. Canadian Passport. Canadian passport is one of the top 10 most powerful passports in the world. That means that Canadians can travel to 172 countries with no visa or get a visa upon arrival.

46. Our Justice System. The Canadian justice system is unique in the world. Two official languages (English and French) and two legal traditions (common law and civil law) co-exist within our system of justice.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 47. Gander, NF. This tiny town of 10,000 people accepted 7,000 stranded travelers during the 9/11 crisis. “Let’s also consider the incredible acts of bravery we witnessed that day. And the days that humans were at their best in a small town in Newfoundland.”

48. The extra U in colour, neighbour and labour. A quirk of Canadian English, that stems from British English. Our southern neighbours dropped the U while we still hang on it. It’s fun as it drives spell-checker crazy!

49. Best Place in the World to Live. According to US News, in 2017, Canada is the #2 Best Country Overall. Switzerland ranks as #1.

Canadian Thanksgiving – A Liturgical Festival 50. Santa Claus. Since the North Pole is in Canada, Santa Claus lives in Canada! You can even write a letter to Santa in the North Pole and he’ll send you a reply.