The first European Thanksgiving celebration in North America took place in Newfoundland when English explorer Martin Frobisher landed there in 1578 in his quest for the Northwest Passage. He wanted to give thanks for his safe arrival in the New World. This was 42 years before the Pilgrims landed in what is now Plymouth, Mass.
Although many Thanksgiving holidays were subsequently celebrated, it was not declared a national holiday until 1879.
From 1921 to 1931, Armistice Day (later renamed Remembrance Day) and Thanksgiving were marked on the same date. The two events were then separated, but the timing of Thanksgiving varied.
In 1957, the second Monday of October was set as the consistent date for Thanksgiving Day in Canada.
In 2012, Canadians consumed 142 million kilograms (312.4 million pounds) of turkey or 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) per capita.
About 35 per cent of all whole turkeys purchased in Canada in 2012 were for Thanksgiving, but 44 per cent were bought at Christmas.
Fossils indicate wild turkeys have roamed North American for more than 10 million years.