Saturday, October 9, 2010

Canadian Thanksgiving

  The view from the parking lot at Seneca College in King City
That's the Timothy Eaton estate home in the distance.  The campus
exists on his former estate, a 700 acre nature reserve. 

I've been thinking about Canadian Thanksgiving all
day today.  We're celebrating the occasion with a big
turkey dinner tomorrow, and spent most of the day
trying to find an organic free-range bird.  Sold out
in more than one market.  But we got one after four

All that driving around gave me plenty of time to
think about what Thanksgiving means to me.  When
I was a child, it meant big multiple family gatherings
at our summer cottage before we boarded it up for
another year.  Pumpkin pie was essential, so were
turkey and mashed potatoes, my mother's delicious
rolls, stuffing and women in the kitchen all day.

Now we have dinner with whoever is home, fiancées,
girlfriends, and sometimes friends too.  We clear out
my studio, iron a vintage white table cloth, deck the
house with even more flowers than usual, and
Steven cooks the bird, and the vegetables,
I help with the stuffing, my sons make the rosemary
roast potatoes, and Steven makes the pumpkin pies.
I make the salad.

Canadian Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest.
We give thanks for a great harvest, for our unusually
blessed lifestyle, and in honour of that eat a meal
together. It is not about religion, or history, or which
culture you grew up in.  And that's what I love about it.
Everyone can share in the harvest.  All races and
cultural backgrounds can get in the spirit together
and we all understand the meaning of the holiday.
The farmers' markets today were filled with the diverse
people this city is famous for, and they were all
buying the food they needed to have Thanksgiving
with their families and friends. Each family will
prepare a different meal including traditions from
their own country of origin and new traditions that
they developed here. Judging from the run
on turkeys, that part of the meal may be the same in
many homes. 

The best thing about living in Toronto was evident
today.  It was a beautiful day and the streets were
filled with families walking together, enjoying
a stroll after an early Thanksgiving meal, or
carrying home bags stuffed with groceries, so
the preparations could begin.

 If you're Canadian and are celebrating, Happy
Thanksgiving, if not Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.


Melinda said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Barbara!

I hope you have a fabulous day counting your blessings and eating some of them with relish....

Sheila Vaughan said...

Have a wonderful day with your friends and family Barbara. We don't do Thanksgiving in the UK but it sounds nice.

Liza Hirst said...

Hi Barbara,
We don't celebrate Thanksgiving either, neither in Germany nor in France, and I hope to participate in it one of these days - it does indeed sound nice! I hope all is well with you and that you had a super-duper Thanksgiving weekend with your family! Thanks for sharing the photos, too.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Thank you. We did have just a wonderful day. One funny thing was a fellow in the flower store sounding off about how many minutes per pound to cook the turkey for. Ours was in the oven back home during this discussion. So I chose my roses, and debated this with him. We ended up laughing and shaking hands. I said we cook three turkeys a year, so I think we've cooked at least 30 (the number is no doubt higher). But suddenly everyone in the store was best friends, and a woman suggested buying the tiny pumpkins and putting one on each plate at the table for decoration. So I did. Now I wonder what if that was a famous chef (the turkey debate) and a style editor. It's entirely possible. Last weekend the woman behind me in line was a news anchor.

Happy Thanksgiving to you. When is Thanksgiving in Iceland?


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sheila,

Thank you. We did have a superb day and a great meal. You don't do Thanksgiving, but you probably have other celebrations that we don't know about. It is a great holiday because it's open to everyone.

I love your work and your blog(s).

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

I think France has many more special days than we do here. And I know you don't need a special occasion to make a great meal. Sometimes I dream about walking down a very ordinary street in Paris and buying food for a picnic. That food -- all delicious and all beautifully designed and presented would cost an absolute fortune here, if you could find it!

Happy Thanksgiving to you. You are sweet.


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!