Canadian National Anthem: 3 Fascinating Facts

“O Canada” is the Canadian national anthem. It shouldn’t be confused with the royal anthem of Canada, which is “God Save The Queen.”

The national anthem came to be in 1980, relatively new compared to many other countries’ national anthems. It is popularly heard during famed hockey matches, and it contains a lot of Canadian pride.

“O Canada” is available in French and English lyrics. It taught the French and the Canadians about love, empathy, and camaraderie. There are many mysteries behind the “O Canada” anthem, which will surprise you a bit because there were a lot of boycotts regarding this anthem.

We will gain some insight into the true story of the “O Canada,” which will make your heart and mind wonder how it came to be.

1. How Did The ‘O Canada’ Come into Being?

As we told you, “O Canada” was first presented in French lyrics. ‘O Canada’ was first written by Calixa Lavallee of Quebec in 1802 and was sung at a concert with a piano melody.

Later, when John Douglas and Lorne of France went on their tour to Quebec, they paid attention to the French lyrics “O Canada”, and later told the Governor of Canada about the lyrics.

The Canadian government, along with his wife Victoria and daughter (Princess Louise), wanted to make the original French lyrics written in Quebec their official lyrics, but it was not in the English version, so the government decided to introduce the lyrics in English.

And many writers started doing English translations of “O Canada” but no one got popular.

Later Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier converted the “O Canada” lyrics into English and got its popularity all over Canada.

O Canada” is also known as the royal anthem because it corresponds to the anthem Kings. And, finally, the lyrics to “O Canada” were sung by some hockey celebrities, giving the anthem more popularity.

Canadian national anthem
By: Yahoo/Flickr

2. History 

Its history is most interesting, where it tells you how much importance it gives to its exploits. “O Canada,” was written in two languages.

Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier first completed these lyrics in English with music composer Calixa Lavallee along with the help of a beautiful choir with piano.

With the arrival of these lyrics, they gained popularity very quickly. The writer repeatedly wrote Routhier’s lyrics in French in the English version but did not become as popular. Finally, when Montreal lawyer Robert Stanley Weir did the English version of these lyrics, these lyrics got a lot of popularity. Weir’s English lyrics became the favourite in Canada. But, its lyrics were not accepted even then.

In 1901, when some Canadian children were going on their holiday, the child started singing “O Canada” outside Quebec. Then Thomas Bedford Richardson translated the first and fourth verses into English. And its lyrics in English became Canada’s favourite.

Two years later, Collier’s Weekly held a competition about which writer would convert the “O Canada” into English. However, this competition was won by Mercy E. Powell McCulloch, who was presented at the time of King George V and Queen Mary. And these lyrics were sung outside Quebec for the first time. But, these lyrics did not get value.

Earlier, Routhier had written the songs “God Save the Queen” and “The Maple Leaf Forever.” However, “God Save the Queen” was declared Canada’s royal anthem. When King George visited Canada, it saluted the national anthem.

canadian national anthem
Photo by Chelsey Faucher on Unsplash

This anthem was approved as an unofficial anthem in Parliament in 1967. But, in 1980, “O Canada” was approved as a national anthem under the National Anthem Act.

“O Canada” was made a rule under the National Anthem Act that no one can copy its lyrics, which shows the respect of the French and Canadian people. O Canada,” written by Routhier and Weir, was finally declared Canada’s official national anthem on June 18, 1980. The Canadian anthem is the instrumental version.

But, on June 27, 1980, under the National Anthem Act, it was considered necessary to change the lyrics of “O Canada.” And he made two changes to the lyrics of “O Canada,” “Our home and native land,” “from far and wide,” and “God keeps our land.”

Where “Native Land” meant everyone living in Canada, even if he did not have a native place here, instead he thought of making changes here and changed “God keep our land” to “stand on guard.” With the help of some of its votes, the Canadian government thought of making some more changes and changed “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.

In Weir’s lyrics, “True patriot love in all thy sons command” was changed to “True patriot love in all of us command.”

3. Official Declaration

By: Andre Furtado/Pexels

“O Canada” original lyrics were first written in the French language. After the “O Canada” English translation, the Canadian government, along with some of its writers, made changes to the English lyrics because it was right for Canada to make this change.

After making changes to the anthem, it was finally declared the official national anthem of Canada on July 1, 1980. The “O Canada” anthem speaks on Canada’s glorious deeds, gentle maidens’ rise, and glowing hearts and says to everyone – Canada our home and native land stand on guard. And guard for thee for your own beloved native land. 

The Anthem has shown true patriot love for its native land while giving great importance to its glorious land.

You must have guessed that Canadian anthems show an immense desire for unity and strength in their lyrics. And all together they say, “Canada we stand“. Canadians stick together and rise together stronger than ever in their unity.

The definition of the ‘O Canada’- we stand on guard for thee increases the value of true patriot love of the soldier from the military for their country.

The lyrics of the Canadian anthem also strive for freedom for all the residents here to feel strong and independent here. The Canadian anthem speaks of Thou True North along the western sea from the east that True North is strong and free. And we are seeing the rise of glowing hearts.

“Thee rise and take your country to new heights”


If you liked this article, check out another interesting one here.



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

national day for truth and reconciliation
Lifestyle Country

What You Need to Know About the National Day For Truth and Reconciliation?

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation or popularly known as Orange shirt day is a statutory holiday in Canada
canada coronavirus relief

Canada Coronavirus Relief Schemes: With 5 Essential Schemes

As we all know coronavirus pandemic is a global threat that does not recognize borders. We can only overcome it