What is the national anthem of Canada?

The national anthem of Canada, “O CANADA” was originally commissioned by Théodore Robitaille, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec while Calixa Lavallée wrote the music. Judge and poet Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier composed the lyrics in French, and in 1906, the poem was translated into English.

Another English version appeared in 1908, written by Robert Stanley Weir. It was in 1980 when the anthem took its present form after two revisions. ‘O Canada’ became a national anthem in the same year via the National Anthem Act.

At public events, performers often mix the French and English lyrics to reflect the country’s linguistic duality. Performers commonly sing the first and last three lines of the anthem in English. The last lines may alternate between French and English.

The anthem is played at sports events that involve Canadian teams. At games that involve US and Canadian teams, arenas perform both the American and Canadian national anthems. Daniel Tlen performed ‘O Canada’ in the Tutchone language during the 1988 Winter Olympics’ opening ceremony. Akina Shirt is the first singer to perform the national anthem in the Cree language at a 2007 Calgary Flames Game.

In accordance with the National Anthem Act both the melody and the lyrics of the national anthem are in the public domain. Thus, ‘O Canada’ can be used and reproduced for the purposes of musical arrangements and other derived works. The performance of the anthem is not governed by official regulations, with citizens exercising their best judgment. At public events, the etiquette is to end or start ceremonies with the national anthem. Canadians stand during the performance to show their respect, and civilian men remove their hats.

Recently, there was a debate on whether to change the lyrics of the anthem and more specifically, the line ‘"true patriot love in all thy sons command’ as to make it less gender-specific. The proposal prompted a mass outcry, with Canadians objecting any change to the anthem. In the view of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, there are many things to do for women, and changing the words of ‘O Canada’ is not a priority. By the same token, many things could be done for seniors and pensioners than having a Seniors Day. In fact, the official version incorporates changes made upon a recommendation by a joint committee of senators and MPs. Changes were recommended in 1968, and the lines ‘God keep our land glorious and free!’ and ‘from far and wide’ were added.

Canada’s national anthem ranks 4th most sing-along-able, out of six, with a rating of 31.53 percent. This is the conclusion of a study that aimed to determine how ‘sing-along-able’ the anthems of different countries are. The British ‘God Save the Queen’ sits in last place as it lacks climax or real hook where people feel compelled to belt it out or join in. La Marsellaise (the French national anthem) is the easiest to sing, and the reason is that a culture of music has surrounded the French for many years.

Short version of the 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.
O Canada glorious and free!
We stand on guard for rights and liberty.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.