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Happy Thanksgiving from staff at The Nelson

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
October 11th, 2013

It’s thanks-for-giving time in Canada and staff at The Nelson want to wish everyone a very festive and safe weekend.

Since 1957 Canadians have been celebrating a holiday for Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October.

The special day is a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year.

The native people of the Americas held ceremonies and festivals to celebrate the completion and bounty of the harvest long before European explorers and settlers arrived in what is now Canada.

Early European thanksgivings were held to give thanks for some special fortune.

An early example is the ceremony the explorer Martin Frobisher held in 1578 after he had survived the long journey in his quest to find a northern passage from Europe to Asia.

Many thanksgivings were held following noteworthy events during the 18th century.

Refugees fleeing the civil war in the United States brought the custom of an annual thanksgiving festival to Canada.

From 1879, Thanksgiving Day was held every year but the date varied and there was a special theme each year.

The theme was the “Blessings of an abundant harvest” for many years.

However, Queen Victoria’s golden and diamond jubilees and King Edward VII’s coronation formed the theme in later years.

From the end of the First World War until 1930, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving Day were celebrated on the Monday closest to November 11, the anniversary of the official end of hostilities in World War I.

In 1931, Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving Day was moved to the second Monday in October.

Turkey Cooking Tips from The Nelson and Health Canada

Cooked turkey is often served at holiday celebrations in Canada — especially Thanksgiving. Canadians should be reminded of some steps they can take to help ensure their turkey feast is a safe one.

What you should do   

Clean, separate, cook and chill.

Follow these four food safety steps when preparing your turkey and you can help reduce the risk of getting sick from undercooked turkey and stuffing, and from cross-contamination.


  • Wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry.
  • Clean and sanitize the sink, surfaces and kitchen utensils touched by raw or thawing turkey and its juices.


  • Store your turkey in a leak-proof bag or container in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after you buy it.
  • Thawing your turkey at room temperature is discouraged. It’s better to thaw turkey in the refrigerator or in cold water.
  • If you thaw your turkey in cold water, keep the turkey in its original wrapping and change the cold water regularly to ensure that the water remains cold.
  • Don’t rinse raw turkey before cooking it. This can spread bacteria everywhere the water splashes, creating a safety hazard.


  • Use a digital food thermometer, and cook turkey until the temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh is at least 85ºC (185ºF).
  • Cook stuffing separately in its own oven dish or on the stove top.  If you do stuff your turkey, stuff loosely just prior to roasting, and remove all stuffing immediately after cooking.  Cook stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 74ºC (165ºF).


  •  Refrigerate all leftovers within two hours of cooking. Use leftover turkey meat, stuffing, gravy and other cooked dishes within two to three days or freeze right away for later use.
  • You can safely re-freeze poultry that has not been fully defrosted, if the meat is still cold and ice crystals are present.
  • Foods such as fully cooked turkey and potatoes can be eaten cold. Gravy should be reheated to reach a full boil and other leftovers should be reheated to at least 74ºC (165ºF).
  • Turkey poses particular food safety challenges because it can be contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. It’s estimated that there are approximately 4 million cases of food-related illnesses in Canada every year.  Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.

For more information about safe food preparation, please visit:

—With files from and Health Canada.

Categories: General

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