Thanksgiving traditions across Canada

By: Sukaina Jamil

Although Thanksgiving enjoys a celebrated history  in Canada spanning hundreds of years, what’s often lost is how this festive holiday is observed from coast to coast. It’s an official statutory holiday in every province and territory, but it may come as a surprise that in four provinces, namely, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, Thanksgiving does not hold that statutory holiday status. What’s more, not every region chooses to serve the seemingly requisite turkey and mashed potatoes as the main dish.

Now that the long weekend has come to an end, let’s talk about the different spreads on tables across Canada, and try not to salivate as we go.

Let’s be real, the year-long hype that comes with Thanksgiving season is largely due to its staple fare: turkey, roasted season vegetables, some variant of potatoes and of course, pumpkin spice and everything nice.

Although you might assume that these dishes are executed in the same way across the country, most Thanksgiving dinner spreads contain some features that are unique to their region.

Residents of Prince Edward Island often spruce up their Thanksgiving starches with some lobster mashed potatoes, infusing two of the province’s most beloved ingredients. Nova Scotians opt to not mash their potatoes, but rather throw them in a stew with a bunch of other vegetables to create Nova Scotian Hodge Podge (most intriguing name ever - a must try).  

Taking a sweeter turn, pumpkin pie has become the lifeblood  of the Thanksgiving season. After all, it is fall, and what feature speaks more to our country’s love of the harvest season than the delectably saccharine pumpkin? However, no Thanksgiving spread is complete with just one dessert, which is where each province’s character emerges. Ontarians delve into decadent butter tarts, while Nanaimo bars are spruced up and served by the dozens in British Columbia. Ever heard of Saskatoon Berry Pie? It competes fiercely with its pumpkin counterpart on dessert tables across Saskatchewan.

You didn’t think we’d forget about the bread, did you? While American Thanksgiving feasts are traditionally served with cornbread, Canadians in Manitoba and Yukon combat with their bannock and sourdough bread, providing a variety tastes and textures for your palette.

Bannock can be served in many different forms, and is a traditional Métis food. Thanksgiving traditions in Canada trace back to long before European settlers came to the land to when Indigenous people would hold feasts in celebration of the fall harvest. Manitobans still include traditional Aboriginal foods in their Thanksgiving meals as a way to honour this piece of history.  

From stews and starches to pies of all kinds, no two tables in Canada are likely to look the same on Thanksgiving.

If you’re getting the urge to travel across the country and divulge in some Thanksgiving leftovers from different provinces and territories, we don’t blame you. In fact, let us know if you need some eating buddies!

22 Blockbusters You Never Knew Were Filmed in Canada

By Brent Smyth

While Canada may not have its own version of Hollywood, many blockbusters choose their northern neighbours to film key scenes and even entire movies! Whether to save money or the incredible scenery, here are the top 22 films to have been shot in Canada, and just wait for 16 and 21.

#1- Titanic (1997)

During the true sinking of the Titanic in 1912, Halifax was the closest port to the catastrophe, and the first to receive the distress signal. The ocean scenes in the film, which was in 1997 the most successful of all time- were shot near where the 1912 event occurred. In Halifax today over 100 victims of the sinking are buried near the port.

Twilight.jpg

#2- Twilight (2008)

Forks High School in the Twilight films in real life is the David Fraser Secondary School in Vancouver. Throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver play host to the setting in three of the four movies in the series.

(The Hollywood Reporter)

(The Hollywood Reporter)

#3- Good Will Hunting (1997)

Shot in only five months, this movie was created in Boston and Toronto, and all the movie’s famous classroom scenes were filmed at the University of Toronto and Central Technical School, not Harvard and MIT.

interstellar.jpg

#4- Interstellar (2014)

While a solid ¾ of the film is in space, the initial farm scenes and opening locations are all found in Alberta. Including Calgary, Canmore, Okotoks, Fort Macleod and outlying areas.

(MTV UK)

(MTV UK)

#5- Mean Girls (2004)

Set in Illinois, a majority of the movie was shot in Toronto at Malvern Collegiate Institute and Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, and the famous Jungle mall scene was shot in Etobicoke, in Sherway Gardens.

Inception.jpg

#6- Inception (2010)

Truly a movie of international locations, inception takes place in England, Morocco and France. However the Fortress Mountain Ski Resort in the Canadian Rockies at Kananaskis, just outside of Calgary served as the snowy mountain fortress sequence, the deepest dream level.

(Rolling Stone)

(Rolling Stone)

#7- Billy Madison (1995)

Sandler’s character in the film progresses through all the grades of school, and the movie itself progresses through quite a few locations in Toronto, including Northern Secondary School, John Ross Robertson Junior Public School, the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa and several other locations around Toronto, Oshawa and Stouffville.

#8- Blades of Glory (2007)

Putting the city’s Olympic history to use, the film used the Montreal Olympic Stadium for the outdoor skating scenes, and the movie’s signature chase scene was shot in Montreal’s Olympic Village.

(El Parana)

(El Parana)

#9- IT (2017)

The remake of Stephen King’s clown horror finds its home in Port Hope, Ont. The local Queen Street Tattoo parlour was transformed to Derry Ice Cream for the film.

(Pop Geeks)

(Pop Geeks)

#10- The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Seemingly filmed in New York City, for four nights in downtown Toronto Yonge Street was closed for filming. And because of how accommodating Toronto’s mayor at the time had been, the Eaton Centre and the University of Toronto also play a role in the film.

(Mental Floss)

(Mental Floss)

#11- Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Instead of flying to France for the European scenes, film crews travelled to Montreal and Quebec City to avoid breaking the bank while still getting the european feel.

(Nerdist)

(Nerdist)

#12- The Neverending Story (1984)

Although most of the movie was shot in Germany, the alleyway Bastian finds himself chased into is Vancouver’s Blood Alley in Gastown. And at the very end of the movie, Flying Luck Dragon Falcor does a Vancouver fly-by.

(Time Out)

(Time Out)

#13- Capote (2005)

It may have been set in the flatlands of Kansas, but Capote was instead shot in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Manitoba. Some notable sites to see are the Manitoba Legislative Building, Gilbart’s Funeral Home and Stony Mountain Institution, which plays a prominent role in the film.

(Mental Floss)

(Mental Floss)

#14- My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Starring Canadian actress Nia Vardalos, the film may have been set in Chicago, but the filming didn't draw Vardalos far from home. A number of downtown spots including Toronto’s Greek Town played home to the film.

(The Telegraph)

(The Telegraph)

#15- Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Although set in Wyoming, it is clear the Canadian Rockies are the breathtaking backdrop seen in the film. Sites where the filming actually took place include Calgary, Elbow Falls, Cowley and Fort Macleod.

(The Ace Black Blog)

(The Ace Black Blog)

#16- Chicago (2002)

Iconic Toronto locales such as Osgoode Hall, Queen’s Park, Elgin Theatre and Union Station all had roles in the film, and Toronto has frequently played the part of Chicago in blockbuster films, and this musical was no exception.

(Addicted2Success)

(Addicted2Success)

#17- Cool Runnings (1993)

Loosely based on the 1988 Jamaican national bobsled team that competed in the Olympics in Calgary, this movie stays true to its real-life counterparts and had a majority of its filmign done in Calgary.

(Hollywood Reporter)

(Hollywood Reporter)

#18- Juno (2007)

Although set in Minnesota, Juno was actually shot in various locations throughout Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and White Rock, and this American-Canadian comedy has gone down as a Canadian classic.

(Hollywood Reporter)

(Hollywood Reporter)

#19- The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

The highest-grossing Hollywood movie ever to be filmed in Canada, this American action film finds its locations in Toronto and Montreal, as well as globally in places such as Tokyo, Hawaii and Scotland.

(The Telegraph)

(The Telegraph)

#20- Total Recall (2012)

Using the aid of CGI, Guelph, Ont. was converted into a post-apocalyptic London, and Toronto location such as the  University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus and Roy Thomson Hall stood in for stations within the planet’s internal transit system, The Fall. Total Recall remains one of the largest budget films shot in Toronto.

(PLay

(PLay

#21- American Psycho (2000)

Considering the word ‘American’ is in the title, don't be alarmed when it is revealed Bateman’s office is in the TD Centre, serving as a substitute for the Seagram Building in New York City, which were both designed by architect Mies Van der Rohe. Additionally, The Phoenix Concert Theatre, The King Edward Hotel’s Consort Bar, The Senator diner and several more of the city’s now-defunct restaurants and clubs played host to Patrick Bateman and his friends on film.

(The Telegraph)

(The Telegraph)

#22- The Revenant (2015)

Shot in Alberta, the winter it was being filmed proved difficult for the crew, as the snow started to melt before production was complete. This forced the final fight scene in the film to be shot in Argentina. Also due to the odd winter, Burnaby, B.C. was used for a few scenes.

This piece was edited by Isabelle Kirkwood

Chicken Fingers of Toronto: Top 3 Con-Tenders

By Kelly Skjerven

You know that feeling you get when you go out to eat and hate almost everything on the menu? I have always been a picky eater, and I have a pro tip for you: chicken fingers are my holy grail (unless you’re vegetarian of course, in which tofu nuggets are great). I’ve always been a picky eater, so chances are I’m ordering chicken fingers almost any time I go out to a bar or restaurant. After my many travels as a chicken finger connoisseur, I've come up with a list of three bars and restaurants that have Toronto’s tastiest tenders!

1. Duke’s Refresher + Bar

Photo: Duke's Refresher + Bar

Photo: Duke's Refresher + Bar

The atmosphere of this bar is amazing. Great music is always blasting, the drinks are delicious and the chicken fingers are of the highest stature. One day, I told my friend I was craving greasy pub fingers and we set off on a journey. We were in the downtown core and I had always wanted to try Duke’s, as it was recommended to me on countless occasions. I was not disappointed, to say the least. The menu describes the meal as “fresh, never frozen and breaded to order” and I believe it. The breading was so flavourful, and the chicken is so tender that the breading fell off of the meat completely.

2. Fran’s Restaurant and Bar

You can never go wrong with Fran’s. Or chicken fingers. Fran’s serves up some classic deep-fried chicken fingers whose flavours are only amplified when dipped in tangy plum sauce. There’s also an option to have them tossed in different sauces such as barbeque, honey garlic, hot and extra hot, which are an awesome way to vamp up your meal!. Whatever your preferred eating approach, you’ll definitely be licking the plate clean.

3. Imperial Pub

Photo: Kiara Julien

Photo: Kiara Julien

Last but not least, the ‘campus’ pub. Imperial is a great place to kick back after a long of day of lectures and labs. They’re known for offering up some of the best comfort food, such as burgers, nachos, fish and chips and much more. Their chicken fingers are the perfect amount of greasy that you’ll want to soak up after a long day. You can get them with golden-crisp fries or on a combo platter which also includes mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries and a cheese quesadilla. You might want to bring a few friends to share with you if you’re going to opt for the platter, or eat it all on your own, no judgement here!

All three of these restaurants are perfect spots to satisfy any fried chicken craving. With individual elements that make each place’s chicken fingers unique to their menu, it’s hard to pick just one to go to! I hope you give all three of these diners and pubs a try, you’ll thank me when you’re fighting the urge to lick your fingers after.

This piece was edited by Sukaina Jamil.

Notable Canadian Oscar Winners throughout History

Oscar-season is officially over and this year brought Canada's fair share of homegrown nominees. Let's take a look back through the history of the Academy Awards to look at Canada's most notable winners. 

1. Mary Pickford

pickford.jpeg

Mary Pickford of Toronto won the second Best Actress award in Oscar history (however the first award for an actress in a talkie) for the 1929 film, Coquette. Although Pickford retired shortly after from acting in 1933, she would receive an honorary Oscar at the 1976 Academy Awards for her contributions to the world of film.

2. James Cameron

cameron.jpg

For producing the (then) highest-grossing film of all-time, James Cameron won Best Picture, Best Director and Film Editing in 1997 for Titanic, which earned a record-breaking total of 11 Oscars.  

3. Norma Shearer and Marie Dressler

Complex.com

Complex.com

Continuing the trend of Canadian actresses dominating the early Oscars ceremonies, French-Canadian actress Norma Shearer won the Best Actress award at the third Academy Awards for the 1930 film, The Divorcee. Canada’s Marie Dressler then won the Best Actress award for her performance in the 1930 film, Min and Bill at the fourth Academy Awards.

4. Harold Russell

Complex.com

Complex.com

Despite being a disabled World War II veteran, Nova Scotia-born Harold Russell featured in the 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives, for which he claimed the Best Supporting Actor award. Russell lost both of his hands in combat, and received a second Oscar that night for ''bringing aid and comfort to disabled veterans through the medium of motion pictures.''

5. Norman Jewison

Complex.com

Complex.com

Through the years, Jewsion’s films have won 12 Oscars- including Best Picture in 1967 for In the Heat of the Night, and have been nominated for a total of 45. He himself has been honoured as a seven-time Oscar nominee, and in 1999 received the prestigious Irving Thalberg Award at the Oscars.

6. Christopher Plummer

Complex.com

Complex.com

Known for his iconic role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Plummer won his first Oscar in 2012. He received a standing ovation when he won Best Supporting Actor award in the independent film, Beginners. The then 82-year-old was the oldest person to have ever won an Oscar.

7. Walter Huston

Complex.com

Complex.com

Playing a wounded ship’s captain in Humphrey Bogart’s 1948 film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Toronto-born Walter Huston won the Best Supporting Actor award. His son John won Best Director that year for the same film.

8. Anna Paquin

Complex.com

Complex.com

Making her debut performance at just age 11, Winnipeg-born actress Anna Paquin picked up her Best Supporting Actress award for the 1993 film The Piano. That night Paquin became the second-youngest Oscar winner of all time.

9. Denys Arcand

Complex.com

Complex.com

Arcand is the only French-Canadian director in history to take home an Oscar, along with being nominated three times, all in the Best Foreign Film category. He was nominated for The Decline Of The American Empire in 1986, Jesus Of Montreal in 1989 and won in 2004 for The Barbarian Invasions

10. Paul Haggis

Complex.com

Complex.com

Haggis became the first screenwriter to write two Best Film Oscars back-to-back- Million Dollar Baby and Crash in 2004 and 2005- the latter of which he directed. For Crash, he won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.