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Canada, oh, sweet Canada! Many people refer to this vast country as the land of Maple Syrup. This nation is famous for its stunning scenery, fabulous people, spectacular ski slopes, and frosty winters. Be careful not to let the similarity of the Canadian Hofstede cultural dimensions to the U.S. cultural dimensions mislead you as this country has unique approaches and traditions. As a culturally diverse nation, Canadians enjoy both French and English customs. Canada’s national Thanksgiving holiday is annually celebrated on the second Monday of October.

Canada is one of the most prosperous countries worldwide with high economic freedom – due in part to its one-of-a-kind system combining private and public business. Canada’s GDP is 1.6 trillion nominally which ranks it in 10th place. Canada’s Purchasing Power Parity PPP ranks the nation in 15th place.

If you’re doing business in Canada or with a Canadian organization, it’s important to know that Canadians are some of the smartest people worldwide. Half of Canada’s residents hold college degrees which in turn makes Canada the world’s most educated country worldwide. Positive thinking ranks as a top leadership trait and it’s no surprise that Canada is one the happiest countries in the world. Keep this in mind when preparing for that virtual call or sending an email to your northern counterpart.

Canadians attribute the origin of Thanksgiving to traditions of Indigenous Peoples holding communal feasts to celebrate their fall harvest. Canadians consider the first official Canadian Thanksgiving to be in Newfoundland in 1578, when Sir Martin Frobisher celebrated his successful journey from England to Newfoundland. Although a fall harvest was not involved, being thankful is important. For centuries, Canadian Thanksgiving enjoyed an official theme that varied from ‘restoring peace with Russia’ to ‘abundant harvest blessings.’ Today, Canadians give thanks for a successful year and harvest.

Thanksgiving is an official statutory holiday in most of the Canadian provinces and territories. The exceptions are Canada’s easternmost provinces: Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. A few Canadians may celebrate in these eastern regions; however, it is to a smaller degree. In Québec, Thanksgiving is referred to as Action de Grâce. Many Quebecois do not participate in the celebration.

Currently, the holiday is enjoyed the second week of October and may include:

  • Visits with family and friends, although in some provinces and territories, especially the easternmost provinces and Quebec, the holiday isn’t observed.
  • Feasts of turkey, chicken, or ham paired with stuffing, corn, and gravy along with autumn vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and squash, and pumpkin pie.
  • Outdoor activities such as hikes, walks, and weekend drives during good weather.

We hope you benefit from this cultural knowledge about this beautiful country, Canada.

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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