O Canada

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O Canada

"O Canada is the national anthem of Canada. The song was originally commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, the Honourable Théodore Robitaille, for the 1880 St. Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony. Calixa Lavallée wrote the music, which was a setting of a patriotic poem composed by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The text was originally only in French, before it was translated to English in 1906.

By the time the World War broke out in 1914, "O Canada" was the best known patriotic song in Canada, edging out "The Maple leaf Forever" and others less well-known today.

1927 - An official version of "O Canada" was authorized for singing in Canadian schools and for use at public functions.

1964 - A government resolution authorized the formation of a special joint committee to consider the status of "God Save The Queen" and "O Canada".

1966 - January 31. The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, placed a notice of motion on the order paper "That the government be authorized to take such steps as may be necessary to provide that "O Canada" shall be the National Anthem of Canada while "God Save The Queen" shall be the Royal Anthem of Canada.

1967- "God Save The Queen" was found to be in the public domain as the Royal Anthem of Canada, but for "O Canada" the committee deemed it "essential to take such steps as necessary to appropriate the copyright to the music providing that it shall belong to Her Majesty in right of Canada for all time. This provision would also include that no other person shall be entitled to copyright in the music or any arrangements or adaptations thereof."

The committee recommended further study of the lyrics. It suggested keeping the original French version and using the Weir English version with minor changes - that is replacing two of the "Stand on guard" phrases with "From far and wide" and "God keep our land".

There was no trouble with the music copyright which had by now descended to Gordon V. Thompson. They were willing to sell for $1, but the heirs of Judge Weir objected to the changes in the original version. Since Judge Weir died in 1926, the Weir version would not come into public domain until 1976. There was some doubt that the Weir family had legal grounds for objection since Thompson's apparently held copyright on both music and English words. However the committee preferred to settle the matter amicably if at all possible. The Government acquired the rights from G.V. Thompson in 1970.

1972 - February 28 - The Secretary of State of Canada, the Honourable Gérard Pelletier, presented a bill in the House of Commons proposing the adoption of "O Canada" as the National Anthem of Canada.

1980 - June 18 - The Secretary of State of Canada, the Honourable Francis Fox, presented a bill, similar to previously presented bills on "O Canada", fulfilling a promise made earlier in the House that "O Canada" be proclaimed as Canada's national anthem as soon as possible in this year of the centenary of the first rendition. The bill was unanimously accepted by the House of Commons and the Senate on June 27; Royal assent was given the same day.

July 1 - The Governor General, His Excellency the Right Honourable Edward Schreyer, proclaimed the Act respecting the National Anthem of Canada, thus making "O Canada" an official symbol of the country. A public ceremony was held at noon on Parliament Hill in front of thousands of Canadians. Descendants of Weir and Routhier were on the official platform, as well as the successor of Robitaille, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Côté.

References


Etiquette during the playing of Canada's national anthem

As a matter of respect and tradition, it is proper to stand for the playing of "O Canada" as well as for the anthem of any other nation.

It is traditional for civilian men to take off their hats during the playing of the national anthem. Women as well as children do not remove their hats on such occasions.


References


O Canada 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.




O Canada Music

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References



The Original English version of O Canada Poem by R. Stanley Weir

Many English versions have appeared, but the one which was widely accepted was written in 1908 by another judge, R. Stanley Weir, in honour of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. It was amended in 1913, 1914 and 1916 and published in an official form at the time of the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation in 1927 and during the Royal visit of 1939. A slightly modified version of the first verse of Weir's poem was proclaimed as Canada's national anthem in 1980. The original poem of 1908 by Stanley Weir reads as follows:

   "O Canada! Our home and native land!
   True patriot love thou dost in us command.
   We see thee rising fair, dear land,
   The True North, strong and free;
   And stand on guard, O Canada,
   We stand on guard for thee.
Refrain O Canada! O Canada! O Canada! We stand on guard for thee. O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada! Where pines and maples grow. Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow. How dear to us thy broad domain, From East to Western Sea, Thou land of hope for all who toil! Thou True North, strong and free!
Refrain O Canada! O Canada! etc.
O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise, To keep thee steadfast through the years From East to Western Sea, Our own beloved native land! Our True North, strong and free!
Refrain O Canada! O Canada! etc.
Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer, Hold our dominion within thy loving care; Help us to find, O God, in thee A lasting, rich reward, As waiting for the Better Day, We ever stand on guard.
Refrain O Canada! O Canada! etc."