Students, staff and faculty gathered recently on the University Canada West campus to share a meal and celebrate Thanksgiving together.

The UCW lobby was packed to capacity as a free turkey lunch with all the trimmings was served on Oct. 6. Vegetarian options were also available.

Kamyar (Victor) Mansouri, 21, is from Iran and it was his first Thanksgiving meal ever.

“It was a cool new experience,” he said. “Being so far from home, it was nice to be with so many people for an event like Thanksgiving.”

The delectable menu included roasted local turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, holiday, honey glazed vegetables, caramelized apple dressing, turkey gravy, pumpkin pie and more.

The holiday and the cuisine were completely new to Mandeep Kaur, 25, from India. It was her first Thanksgiving and the vegetarian got to try a new cuisine.

“It was very good,” she said. “The food was totally different than the food in my culture.”

For some in the internationally diverse student body, it was their first taste of turkey.

Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October and has been celebrated as an annual holiday since 1879. It’s a statutory holiday in most Canadian provinces.

The Canadian version of the holiday is celebrated somewhat differently than its American counterpart, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

The two Thanksgiving holidays often share a similar menu of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy stuffing, vegetables and pumpkin pie, the Canadian version is based almost solely on the English and continental European harvest festivals.

While the American version also has roots in the harvest festivals, it is often tied and related to the “First Thanksgiving,” which was celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 after their first harvest in North America, which they referred to as the new world.

The Thanksgiving Turkey lunch is just one of many events held on campus for University Canada West students. The business-oriented university is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, BC and offers Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication and Master of Business Administration degree programs, as well as preparatory courses. Email [email protected] for more information.