Canadian National Anthem

Canadian National Anthem

Our Canadian national anthem is “O Canada”. The song was written by a French composer, Calixa Lavalée, for a Saint Jean Baptiste celebration in 1880. The original lyrics were from a french patriotic poem, composed by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier.

The lyrics were translated to English in 1906. Eventually, the English got their own version that was not based on a literal translation of the French version. Robert Stanley Weir wrote his English version in 1908. The lyrics have been revised twice since then, with only a line changed here and there.

It wasn’t until 1980 that “O Canada” actually became the official Canadian national anthem, although it was used unofficially since 1939. It was in 1980 that an Act of Parliament received Royal Assent that “O Canada” became the Canadian national anthem effective July 1 as part of the Dominion Day celebrations.

At public events where you will find vocal versions of the Canadian national anthem being performed, the singers will often mix the English and French versions of the anthem, with lines from each language, as a nod to Canada’s bilingual heritage. Almost always, only the first verse is performed.

I don’t know if they still do it, but while I was attending elementary school in Ottawa, we would have the national anthem played at the beginning of every school day. Most kids learn both the English and French versions (probably from watching hockey with their parents!!!), but I didn’t know until much later that there were more verses then the standard one verse that was generally played!

Click here to see the video on the home page, it contains a photo montage of sites around Ottawa set to an instrumental version of O Canada. Be sure to check it out!

 

 

 

The flag of Canada

Flag of Canada

 

 

OFFICIAL FRENCH LYRICS FOR OUR CANADIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM

Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

OFFICIAL ENGLISH LYRICS FOR OUR CANADIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM

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!
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!
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!
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!
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Ruler supreme,
Who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion in 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.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

EASY PIANO ARRANGEMENT

Below is a clickable link to download an easy-piano arrangement of our National Anthem. (Link will open in a new tab).

Free sheet music
Lavallée, Calixa Lavallée, Calixa
O Canada! / Nat’l Anthem Canada (Easy piano)
 + MIDI
Piano solo
National Anthems
Copyright © William Wallace


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 STANDARD PIANO ARRANGEMENT, INCLUDING SATB CHOIR

Below is a clickable link for a standard piano arrangement of our national anthem that includes a full score for four-part (SATB) choir. (Link will open in a new tab).

Free sheet music
Lavallée, Calixa Lavallée, Calixa
O Canada
 + MIDI
Choral SATB, Piano
National Anthems
Copyright © Andrew Hawryluk


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