O Canada?


I learned this interesting piece of Canadian trivia recently, and thought that this blog would be an appropriate place to share it.

The music and French lyrics were written in 1880, apparently to celebrate St. Jean-Baptiste Day. By 1939 it was the defacto National Anthem – it became official in 1980. In the early part of the 20th century, there were competing versions, trying to establish themselves as the accepted English language lyrics.

Here are 3 versions that never did become the official National Anthem of Canada, in English:

1. Written by Dr. Thomas Bedford Richardson (1906) – Toronto

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

2. Written by Ewing Buchan (1908) – Vancouver

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 them one Empire wide, do we implore
And prosper Canada from shore to shore

3. Written by Mercy E. Powell McCulloch (1909)

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, thou 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

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