Canadian Thanksgiving traditions in Grimsby

It’s American Thanksgiving, so it’s as good a time as any to write about our adventures during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

A couple of years ago, I went to Ottawa and spent Thanksgiving weekend with Kevin. While there, I ate the most delicious Thanksgiving dinner that I’d ever had. Since we’re back in Grimsby, room-mating it up with my parents, we cried “dibs” pretty immediately on preparing Thanksgiving dinner. My mom was away for a wedding that weekend, so we had free reign over the kitchen. Of course, there were some other antics afoot before we got the oven running.

We were making our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, so on Friday I set out to buy a turkey. I’d attempted to purchase a turkey on Thursday, to no avail. Apparently everyone buys their turkey at least 2 weeks early, and I had missed the memo. On Friday morning, Kevin told me “go to Lococo’s, they’ll have a 10kg Butterball for sure”. With Thursday’s empty turkey freezers in mind, I drove my parents to the airport on Friday, and proceeded to spend 3 hours driving all around Mississauga and Oakville in search of a 10kg+ Butterball turkey. I could barely find a 7kg turkey, let alone a butterball, so I began to panic. I bought the first 10kg turkey I could find, Butterball be damned.

Then, to stock up on veggies and stuffing and all that other Thanksgiving goodness, I went to Lococo’s. As Kevin had promised, they had multiple Butterballs over 10kg. So what did I do? I bought one. As of today, we still have an extra turkey just waiting it out in our basement freezer.

Double turkey purchases aside, Thanksgiving weekend in Grimsby involves just one tradition: Attending the Balls Falls Craft Show. So before we got to cooking, Kevin agreed to indulge me and attend the craft show. Balls Falls is a conservation area in Vineland, ON, that also happens to be the home of several old/historic buildings. It’s a wedding hotspot these days, which makes sense because it’s quite lovely.

Fortunately, the craft show is not just about crafts. There are several historical displays that showcase 20th century technologies. There was also a “raptor” display, where we saw some really cool birds, most importantly, a Bald Eagle!!!! The next best thing to a Bald Eagle was seeing a genuine Military Band Organ from 1911. Still in full working order, this was a pretty cool site to see. It was restored and maintained by a gentleman named Captain John Leonard, who toured it all around the great lakes regions, in the United States and Canada. Though Captain John has since passed away, his wife and and his friend continue this great tradition, bringing a taste of early 20th century musical technology to the masses.

Here’s a quick video of what the inner workings of the machine, as seen through the back, looks like:

Surprisingly, we got quite into the whole craft scene, and went through to see every vendor there. While I’d planned to check out the festival for 30 minutes, once we saw the food tent, we got sucked in, and ended up spending more than 2 hours crafting about. I’ve been to this festival in some terrible weather, so the bright sunny day was a real treat.

The next day, guided by some tips from Gordon Ramsay, we embarked on our Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza. With Kevin leading, me sous-chefing, and my brothers assisting, it was a pretty big production. I can honestly say that we could not have pulled this off without the help of Tyler and Kristopher, who helped with all the preparation, and made dessert. Tyler also ran point on serving the wine, which is essential for family holidays. We kicked off dinner by toasting with a glass of sparkling wine for everyone at the table, then proceeded to dig in.

The menu included:

  • A 10 kg turkey, perfectly prepared
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green beans with bacon
  • 3 types of gravy
  • Stovetop Stuffing (yes, from the box – don’t mess with a classic!)
  • Gwyneth’s roasted cauliflower and chickpeas
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Homemade Gingerbread Cookies
  • Homemade Lemon Meringue Pie (courtesy of Nana Ev)
  • Wine, wine, and more wine (all from Niagara’s 20 Valley Region, of course)

And that’s it. The secret to a great Thanksgiving weekend? Wine and teamwork. Hopefully Christmas will be similar entertaining! Check out the various photos of our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, below:

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