What are the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem ‘O Canada’?

4 February 2022, 17:05

What are the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem ‘O Canada’?
What are the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem ‘O Canada’? Picture: Alamy
Classic FM

By Classic FM

Canada’s national anthem has both French and English versions, to honour the country’s bilingual past and present.

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On their visits to Canada in the early 1900s, English kings would salute ‘O Canada’ as if it were a national anthem. But the stately song wasn’t proclaimed Canada’s official anthem until 1 July 1980.

It replaced ‘God Save the Queen’, which today remains Canada’s royal anthem. Before ‘O Canada’ was officially adopted, it was often used on an unofficial basis alongside the patriotic tune ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’.

As a bilingual country, it is fitting that Canada’s anthem has several variations: an English, a French, and two bilingual renditions.

Read more: We ranked the greatest national anthems in the world

Who composed Canada’s national anthem?

Calixa Lavallée, a Quebecois concert pianist, composed the melody in 1880.

The original French lyrics were penned the same year by judge Adolphe-Basile Routhier, as a patriotic poem celebrating Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

An English translation came in 1906, and many more followed over the years. But the one with staying power turned out to be Robert Stanley Weir’s 1908 take, which only slightly differs from the version we use today.

What are the lyrics to ‘O Canada’?

English version:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us 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.

French version:

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.

Bilingual version 1:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

Bilingual version 2:

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