It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada, Columbus Day in the U S. On the second Monday in October each year since 1957, our Canadian neighbors have officially celebrated their blessings and the bountiful harvest of the season. This public holiday is called Thanksgiving Day, or Jour de l’Action de grace in Quebec. For most of Canada, Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday, with the exceptions being the Atlantic provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might eat their traditional meal on any day of the three-day weekend, with Sunday or Monday being the most common. This autumnal tradition in Canada corresponds to European Harvest Festivals. It also corresponds to our own US Thanksgiving weekend in November with similar events including parades and football games. Canadian Thanksgiving time includes an Oktoberfest Parade and the Canadian Football League’s doubleheader known as the Thanksgiving Day Classic, all broadcast nationwide. Adding to the holiday spirit of Thanksgiving in both countries are the pumpkins, sheaves of grain, cornucopias, corn, and other harvest symbols used for decorations in businesses, homes, and churches.
Canadian celebrations of harvest had gone on for centuries with the indigenous peoples holding festivals, ceremonial dances and other practices, long before the arrival of Europeans. The more recent history of Thanksgiving in Canada can be traced back to the 1578 voyage of Martin Frobisher from England in search of the Northwest Passage. A few years later French explorers and settlers, led by Samuel de Champlain, arrived in Canada in 1604 and also held huge feasts of thanks.
Today, as on every second Monday in October, the Thanksgiving celebration of harvest time in Canada coincides with Columbus Day in the United States, which honors Christopher Columbus’ arrival here in 1492. Columbus Day is observed throughout most of the states; however, a few have chosen to rename the anniversary for historical or cultural events more closely aligned with their own region and populace; and Alaska doesn’t celebrate Columbus Day at all.
So, in conclusion, whether you are a Canadian celebrating Thanksgiving Day, or a US citizen observing Columbus Day, we hope that it’s a good time for all!
The buzz around our ReMax office this past week was all about an article which appeared in the Vancouver Sun on May 28, 2011 (and in the Edmonton Journal on the 28th as well). The article, appearing in a special section entitled “South of the Border”, captured everyone’s attention because in part, it featured our own Dick Sakowicz, as a local Realtor speaking about working with Canadian clients. The issue included reviews of several US cities popular with Canadian snowbirds; Dick was interviewed on our current housing opportunities here in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.
In addition to low US prices and the high Canadian dollar, there are a number of appealing and compelling reasons – such as our desert climate, accessibility, resort lifestyle, urban amenities, and mid-century architecture, all cited here, as reasons for Palm Springs becoming so popular with Canadians. To read the whole article, go to South of the Border -Palm Springs, the online version which appeared on May 27, 2011.
We’d have to say that it’s really fun helping Canadians find their “escape to the sun” home and we enjoy their friendship. Except maybe on the day when the Canadian Olympic hockey team pummeled our own team! Oh well, they were the Olympic hosts so we were happy for them to win the gold. We showed up at a local sports bar to share the fun of watching that game together and were amazed at the Canadian turnout and their huge national flags hastily hung around the bar, (as opposed to our little puny US one we’d grabbed to take along at the last minute). And speaking of hockey, if you’re a fan, you might want to check out the Canucks vs. the Boston Bruins in their faceoff at the Stanley Cup finals, currently in progress. And if you’re Canadians, come check us out!
It’s great to see Palm Springs is so often in the national news. Today I’m writing about our still relatively new Ace Hotel and Swim Club, because it’s featured in the December 2010 Food and Wine issue in their Where to Go — BEST OF THE YEAR section.
The Ace design style is somewhat quirky, with industrial materials used in the decor, and many of the furnishings are vintage mid-century. They offer many creature comforts such as body care products and luxury soaps. They allow dogs, a definite plus. Ace can reserve for you at nearby riding stables, rent you a scooter and much more. This all spells fun!
Their great pool is a rarity – it’s deep! And parked pool-side you’ll find an adorable retro mini-trailer which offers snacks, including alcohol-spiked snow cones. In the evenings, guests can request the fire pits be lit along with a buffet of fish tacos. Yes, fish tacos here in the desert! People are loving the pool-side dining, featuring flavorful Mexican fare. Food and Wine also recommends Ace’s hip diner, King’s Highway. Another fun and popular feature is the luxury of pool-side massages in the yurts.
Sometimes Ace offers special events to coincide with events happening in Palm Springs such as our International Film Festival (in January). The parking lots at Ace are packed every weekend. Check them out at Ace Hotel.
This Saturday, November 13 is for getting healthy in Palm Springs when thirty plus vendors will be under the big tent to offer food demonstrations, samples, giveaways and other enticements, all while live music plays. Nature’s Health Food and Cafe will be having their Third Annual Anniversary bash, and, of course, their vegetarian / vegan cafe, newly expanded, will offer a multitude of choices for a great lunch experience. The place to be is Plaza on Sunrise, located on the southwest corner of Sunrise and Ramon. Nature’s Health Food offers products such as herbs, natural foods and supplements, organic products, vitamins and minerals, and even natural cosmetics. The event runs from 9 to 4.
I’m working to make the meals at our house more healthful these days, so I know I’ll be going. It should be a lot of fun and I’d like to taste some of the samples of vegetarian meat alternatives they sell without having to buy a whole big package before I know if I’m going to like it. My mom and dad always said, “For free, take!”
Oh, and one more thing – during this special event, they will be offering a 20% discount on supplements and vitamins. Yes, it is a local store and not as comprehensive as some others down valley, but I do like to encourage our local merchants, and they’re only five minutes or so away from anyone living in Palm Springs proper. And the staff is knowledgeable and helpful. So, come join the fun!
If you are a Canadian living in Vancouver or elsewhere in B.C. and you love to come to Palm Springs, you may have already discovered that one airline, Allegiant Air, provides very inexpensive direct flights for you. If not, here’s what you need to know.
Driving south on Canadian Hwy 99, pick up the US I-5 at the border into Washington State which in a short 21 miles brings you to the Bellingham International Airport (BLI), in Bellingham, Washington. Here you will find Allegiant Air services. It’s easy and you will really love the low fares! As an example, if you are flexible with dates, right now you can find a round trip fare for the direct flight to Palm Springs for $227.86, all inclusive. Sometimes, it’s even lower as our friends last night told us their fare down this week was about $75.00 each way. Also, if you’d like to bring “Zigi” or “Axel” along, the airline does allow a restricted number of small pets (dogs and cats) to travel in the cabin with ticketed passengers for a fee.
Bellingham is only about 52 miles south of Vancouver. Once you fly this way, you’ll be coming down a lot more often. Check out Allegiant Air , you’ll be glad you did! No, we’re not paid by Allegiant Air to promote their services; it’s their happy Canadian clients who do that!