National Anthem of Canada (Lyrics, History)

The national anthem of Canada is titled, “O Canada.” The music for this anthem was originally written in 1880 but wasn’t adopted as the official national anthem until 100 years later. The song was commissioned for the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony to be held in 1880. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallee and the lyrics originally written by Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The original lyrics were written in French, and it wasn’t until 1906 when the lyrics translated to English were published.

Following the publication of the English lyrics, several versions emerged, including the version written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908. These lyrics grew in popularity and were adopted by the Parliament as the official lyrics to the national anthem. However, since that time, the lyrics have been revised three different times, with the last change occurring in 2018 to make the anthem gender-neutral. The French lyrics have, however, remained the same. Even though “O Canada” has served as the de facto national anthem since the late 1930s, it wasn’t officially adopted until July 1, 1980. There is also a bilingual version of the lyrics – however, these are not official.

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.