It's not just that they celebrate a month early.

By Bridget Shirvell
Updated September 28, 2020
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Thanksgiving may be one of the best things about late fall and we're not the only ones that take time to say thanks while feasting at this time of year. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, and their holiday is actually older than ours. Canadian Thanksgiving dates back to 1578 when an arctic explorer and his crew gave thanks for safe travels. Today, our two Thanksgivings happen in different months but are actually pretty similar when it comes to the menu. There are a few aspects of Canadian Thanksgiving that make it unique, though.

There's Less of a Focus on Pie

Perhaps the most surprising thing to know about Canadian Thanksgiving is that pie is not essential to the menu. The non-pie desserts popular north of the border are often cakes, such as maple-walnut layer. Doughnuts are another favorite option.

There Are No Marshmallows Involved in the Meal

Forget the casserole dish and the marshmallow toppings: In Canada, sweet potatoes are either baked or whipped into a creamy, smooth purée using buttermilk and dijon. For a sweeter version of this Canadian favorite, skip the dijon and buttermilk and opt for molasses, brown sugar, and orange juice or the simplest and most elemental version with just maple syrup and butter. No matter how you enjoy your sweet potatoes, know that they're a staple at Canadian Thanksgiving, too.

But You Will Find Plenty of Bacon

Though we love this cured meat in everything from breakfast sandwiches to cookies, Americans view bacon as optional on Thanksgiving. For Canadians, it's not. They add Canadian bacon to all kinds of casseroles, giving everything from stuffing to gratins extra flavor. It is a celebration of their country, after all.

Expect a Spicier Pumpkin

We like our pumpkin pie sweet and topped with globs of whipped cream, but our friendly neighbors to the north opt for a spiced pumpkin pie with more ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon that give the pie a lively, earthier taste.

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