O Canada

From Academic Kids

"O Canada" is the national anthem of Canada.

The music was composed by Calixa Lavalle; he may have been inspired by the similar "March of the Priests" from Mozart's opera The Magic Flute (MIDI file (http://www.r-a-macdonald.ca/March%20of%20the%20Priests%20(O%20Canada).mid)).

The original French lyrics were written by Sir Adolphe Basile Routhier, as a French-Canadian patriotic song for the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society. It was first performed on June 24, 1880 at a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day banquet in Quebec City, but did not become Canada's official national anthem until July 1, 1980.

The official English version is based on a poem written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908; it is not a translation of the French. Changes to the English version were recommended in 1968 by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons. The National Anthem Act of 1980 added a religious reference to the English lyrics and adding the phrase "From far and wide, O Canada" to replace a repeated use of the phrase "We stand on guard." This change was controversial with traditionalists, and for several years afterwards it was not uncommon to hear people still singing the old lyrics at public events.

From 1867 to 1980, "O Canada," "God Save the King," and "The Maple Leaf Forever" competed as unofficial national anthems, but by the 1960s "O Canada" had emerged as the clear favourite. When it was made the official anthem, most Canadians were surprised to learn that it did not already have such status. "God Save the Queen" is now Canada's royal anthem, while "The Maple Leaf Forever" is virtually forgotten.


Official English lyrics

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

N.B.: the line is true patriot love in all thy sons command, with no apostrophe; otherwise put, "command (inspire) true patriot love in all thy sons." Also, the first word is "O" (used as a vocative, to apostrophize Canada), not the exclamation "oh."

The line "The True North strong and free" is based on Alfred Lord Tennyson's description of Canada as "That True North whereof we lately heard." [1] (http://charon.sfsu.edu/tennyson/poems/tothequeen.shtml) In the context of Tennyson's poem, true means loyal or faithful.

Two provinces have adopted Latin translations of phrases from the English lyrics as their mottos: Manitoba--Gloriosus et liber (glorious and free)--and Alberta--Fortis et liber (strong and free). Similarly, the motto of Canadian Forces Land Force Command is Vigilamus pro te (we stand on guard for thee).

The original song has several additional verses, but these are rarely sung.

Official French lyrics

Canada! Terre de nos aeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'pe,
Il sait porter la croix;
Ton histoire est une pope
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur de foi trempe
Protgera nos foyers et nos droits;
Protgera nos foyers et nos droits.

Gloss of the French lyrics:
O Canada! Home of our ancestors,
Your brow is wreathed with glorious garlands!
Since your arm can bear the sword,
It can bear the cross;
Your history is an epic
Of the most brilliant feats.
And your valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights;
Will protect our homes and our rights.

Often, singers at public events mix the English and French lyrics in order to represent Canada's linguistic duality. The most common pattern is to sing the first two lines in English, the next 4 lines in French, and the remainder in English. Other patterns also exist.


In recent years, the English version of the anthem has been criticized, by feminists such as Senator Vivienne Poy, for being sexist ("true patriot love in all thy sons command"); alternate lyrics ("in all of us command") have been proposed but are not widely used. The English version has also been under criticism for its religious connotation (God keep our land...).

Another suggested solution to this problem is changing the official English lyrics to the second verse of the original poem which does not contain language that is widly considered sexist or references to religion. However, this suggestion does not have much support in Canada.

However, if one sings the first two lines in French, the next four in English, and ends the song in French, one avoids both sexist language and religious references (except for foi "faith", which some would argue could be interpreted as faith in one's country and fellow citizens), expresses national unity, and remains unimpeachable on grounds of revisionism, as both versions are just as official.

The melody and French and English lyrics of "O Canada" are in the public domain.

Inuktitut lyrics

In the territory of Nunavut, the national anthem is sung in English, French, and Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. It is called O'Kanata in this language.


O'Kanata nangmini Nunavut
Piqujatii / Nalattiaqpavut
Angigllivaliajuti sanngijulutillu
Nangiqpugu / O'Kanata
O'Kanata nunatsia
Nangiqpugu mianiripluti
O'Kanata salagijauquna

External links


de:O Canada es:O Canada eo:O Canada fr: Canada iu:ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ it:O Canada lv:O Canada hu:Kanadai himnusz nl:O Canada ja:カナダの国歌 pl:Hymn Kanady pt:Hino nacional do Canad simple:O Canada fi:O Canada sk:O Canada sv:O Canada vi:O Canada zh:哦!加拿大


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