• Thanksgiving derives from ancient festivities in Europe that celebrated the bounty of the harvest – and enough food to survive the winter.
• The event often cited as the first Canadian (and North American) Thanksgiving was a feast of thanks given by Martin Frobisher and the Frobisher Expedition in what is now Newfoundland during their attempts to find the Northwest Passage in 1578.
• Throughout the 19th century, official Days of Thanksgiving were proclaimed to celebrate such events as the cessation of cholera (Lower Canada, February 6, 1833), the end of war between Great Britain and France (Upper Canada, June 18, 1816) and restoration of peace with Russia (Province of Canada, June 4, 1856).
• The first Thanksgiving Day after Confederation was on April 15, 1872, to give thanks for the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.
• From 1879 to 1920, Thanksgiving Day was celebrated annually in October or November, to celebrate “the blessings of an abundant harvest.”
• From 1921 to 1930, Thanksgiving was combined with Armistice Day (now Remembrance Day), which was observed on the Monday of the week of November 11.
• Thanksgiving has taken place on the second Monday in October since 1931, except for 1935, when that date conflicted with a general election.