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Background of Canada’s National Anthem

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Clark chapter.

In light of recent events and the way the US seems to be moving forward, I think it may be helpful to know the history of the Canadian national anthem. If any of you have watched “Handmaids Tale”….enough said. Blessed be the fruitloops.

“O Canada” is the national anthem of Canada. The song was originally commissioned by Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Théodore Robitaille for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony; Calixa Lavallée composed the music, after which, words were written by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier (Wikipedia).

There were three versions:

Richardson’s version:

“O Canada! Our fathers’ land of old Thy brow is crown’d with leaves of red and gold.

Beneath the shade of the Holy Cross Thy children own their birth

No stains thy glorious annals gloss Since valour shield thy hearth.

Almighty God! On thee we call Defend our rights, forfend this nation’s thrall,

Defend our rights, forfend this nation’s thrall.”

McCulloch’s version:

“O Canada! in praise of thee we sing;

From echoing hills our anthems proudly ring. With fertile plains and mountains grand With lakes and rivers clear,

Eternal beauty, thos dost stand Throughout the changing year.

Lord God of Hosts! We now implore Bless our dear land this day and evermore,

Bless our dear land this day and evermore.”

Buchan’s version:

“O Canada, our heritage, our love Thy worth we praise all other lands above.

From sea to sea throughout their length From Pole to borderland,

At Britain’s side, whate’er betide Unflinchingly we’ll stand

With hearts we sing, “God save the King”, Guide then one Empire wide, do we implore,

And prosper Canada from shore to shore.”

Parliament passed the National Anthem Act, in 1980:

“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.”

On January 31, 2018, legislation was ordered to change “True patriot love in all thy sons command” to “True patriot love in all of us command,” assuring gender equality.