(French: Action de Grâce)


  1. An expression of gratitude
  2. (in North America) an annual national holiday, celebrating blessings of the past with family. Marked by a traditional meal including turkey. In Canada, it is usually on the second Monday in October.

Part 1: Thanks giving lunch with a twist

When planning to go on exchange, you are often told to get involved in the traditions of the host city/country, to make friends from all around the world, to demonstrate some aspects of your own culture and on top of all, to have a lot of fun!

So we thought: why don’t we do all four at once?


So that is just what we did: An entertaining afternoon with an Aussie BBQ lunch on Canadian Thanksgiving with Canadian and exchange friends from all around the world in the Vincent Massey Park along the Rideau River with beautiful fall scenery. Ticking exchange goals, 4 at a time.


The outcome you may ask? Everyone loved the Aussie BBQ … that is, after we finally managed to start the BBQ. You may want to take note that Canadian BBQ’s are much different to those you find in Australian parks. The ones where you press the red button and 30 seconds later you have a hot plate to cook your sausages and onions are nowhere to be found. Instead, here we all had to get our hands (and face and clothes) dirty – literally – to start the fire. BUT we were eventually successful and everyone went for seconds and thirds!


Thanks giving is not over yet. We still had half of the day left.

Part 2: Thanks giving dinner – the Canadian way by not very Canadians

A few days before Thanks giving, we were wondering how to celebrate this Canadian Holiday, when all Canadians are with their family for the long weekend and all international students have families thousands of kilometres away.

Me and my 3 roommates decided to plan a Thanksgiving dinner the Canadian style (and successfully roast an entire turkey) to celebrate The Holiday with our amazing ‘exchange family’.

With the help of our exchange family, we bought a turkey, made the stuffing and all the other side dishes, and set the table as close as we could to the google images of ‘Thanks Giving dinner table’, even if we didn’t have glass cups or matching plates.

When it was finally dinner time, we went around the table and each had a turn in describing what we were thankful for. We all seemed to be thankful for the very same things:

Thankful for having the opportunity to come on exchange

Thankful for having met amazing people from all around the world

Thankful for being able to call them family

And thankful for the bright future and awaiting new adventures


The actual dinner was also a huge success, if I say so myself. Our first ever turkey was cooked perfectly. A friend who had been to a Canadian family’s house for lunch the previous day even said: “Ours was just as good”.

And finally, no Thanks Giving is complete without dessert. We all baked (or secretly bought ready-made ones) some sweets which topped off the already great dinner. The classic Thanks Giving desserts included pecan pies and a pumpkin pie – with excessive amounts of whipped cream.