While the Pilgrims occupy centre stage in traditional American Thanksgiving celebrations, it was Ontario's Protestant Clergy, and later, commercial and state interests who helped shape Canada's own unique and inchoate tradition of Thanksgiving in the mid 1800s.

In a finely crafted research paper, A Wealth of Meanings: Thanksgiving in Ontario, 1859-1914, 23-year-old York University PhD History candidate Peter Stevens reveals that Ontario church leaders appropriated the American autumn holiday and transformed it into an instrument of Canadian nationalism. And in doing so, Stevens has laid bare numerous myths and mistaken notions about the origins of our Thanksgiving holiday, which was first celebrated in the United Provinces of Canada in 1859.

YORK UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELEASE


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