The View from The Niagara Guide

General observations and musings on how we can make Niagara a better place.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Mark Kawabe - Sunday, October 09, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

A few things you may not know about the origins of Thanksgiving in Canada.

  • The first Thanksgiving celebration in North America is said to have taken place during Martin Frobisher's voyage in 1578. It was held in what is now Frobisher Bay, Nunavut. The event thought of as the first Thanksgiving in the United States took place in 1621.
  • Thanksgiving has its roots in European harvest festivals.
  • Turkey, pumpkin and squash were added to Canadian Thanskgiving practices by the United Empire Loyalists after the American Revolution.
  • Thanksgiving was originally celebrated in 1816 on May 21 in lower Canada and June 18 in upper Canada. Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1879, although the date fluctuated. It wasn't until 1957 that Thanksgiving was decreed to be the second Monday in October.

Let us remember that for all the challenges we may face individually, within our families, our communities and society as a whole, as Canadians, we have much to be thankful for.

I hope you have a happy, healthy and joyous Thanksgiving weekend.

I hope you have much to be grateful for

Mark Kawabe - Monday, October 12, 2015

An attitude of gratitude seems to be something we have to cultivate in ourselves and our children.

As Canadians, we are fortunate to have so much. As individuals, we have opportunities and resources available to us that others can only dream of. It's important to me to recognize those things in my daily life. Even when things aren't particularly going my way, having an attitude of gratitude seems to put things into perspective.

A few reflections on this from the weekend.

We were headed to Toronto on Friday afternoon to pick up my son and his university friend before heading up to my in-laws near Lindsay. Nearing Toronto we got stuck in traffic jams. Twice. We were already running late due to some technical issues with a switchover from one cellular phone carrier to another. It would have been easy to get stressed out. But, stepping back and looking at things through a lens of gratitude, a different perspective opened up.

  • Stuck in Traffic Jam - fortunate to have a car and to live in a society with such a developed highway infrastructure
  • Had to grab a bite to eat on the run - grateful to have the resources available to do so 
  • Delayed due to technical issues - yes, but we now have new cell phones and are paying less, and hey, when I was a kid we didn't even have cell phones
  • Crappy traffic while picking up son & university friend - yes, but then again, we're fortunate to have the resources to be able to send him to university
  • Had to travel three hours+ to get to in-laws - glad to have parents and relatives who are still living

It is easy to take everything around us for granted and then complain when things "go wrong". Sometimes it seems the ability to appreciate what we have is under-utilized, as demonstrated by our individual and collective behaviours. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to focus our attention on gratitude and to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and the relative riches we have as individuals and as a society.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and carry an attitude of gratitude with you throughout the year.

It Comes But Once a Year . . .

Mark Kawabe - Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Another line of days when we celebrate various things. Love. Faith. Being Irish. Turkeys.

I enjoy these days. Especially when they are actual holidays. Today, millions of people will get together with family and friends and enjoy a feast of some sort. Waistlines will expand around the world and we'll experience a global endorphin rush before slipping off into a collective food-induced coma.

A small reminder that these days, whatever we're celebrating, should be seen as the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Today is but one day out of 365. Today we give thanks. Tomorrow we do what? Hopefully give thanks again. Sleep, wake, repeat.

Every day I live I am thankful. I love. I try to focus on the positive more than the negative. I look for the light when things seem dark.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. Today is also a "perfect day" - 10/10/10. I hope you enjoy!


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