Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy 141st Birthday Canada!

Today is Canada Day and we celebrate 141 years as a nation. I am grateful to be a citizen of this great country where we enjoy freedom, peace and prosperity. Here is a little history of our national anthem found at this Canada Heritage website. The pictures were all taken around home this past weekend. I am very fortunate indeed!

"O Canada" was a patriotic poem written in French by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. Calixa Lavallée, the well-known Canadian composer, was commissioned to set it to music, and it was first sung in 1880 during a national convention of French Canadians in Quebec City.

Many English versions have appeared, but the one which was widely accepted was written in 1908 by another judge, R. Stanley Weir, in honour of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City. It was amended in 1913, 1914 and 1916 and published in an official form at the time of the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation in 1927 and during the Royal visit of 1939. A slightly modified version of the first verse of Weir's poem was proclaimed as Canada's national anthem in 1980. The original poem of 1908 by Stanley Weir reads as follows:

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love thou dost in us command.
We see thee rising fair, dear land,
The True North, strong and free;
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.

O Canada! O Canada!
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!

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!

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our dominion within 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.

Happy Canada Day!

Today is also my father's birthday and he is about half the age of Canada. (give or take a few years!) Canada is a young nation. And no, that is not a picture of him at the church BBQ.

Happy Birthday Dad!


  1. Happy Birthday Canada and Ruth's Dad! I love living closer to Canada than to just about anything in the United States. 2.5 hours to Massachusetts--45 minutes to Canada. It is a beautiful country and a good neighbor, I feel like Maine is all snuggled into Canada's embrace, we are surrounded on three sides by Canada. So Happy Birthday, good neighbor.

  2. Happy birthday to Canada!

  3. Anonymous8:48 am GMT-4

    We happened to be in Canada one year on Canada Day, and I realized that I knew very little about the country even though I live only a few hours away. Thank you for a little history lesson. I do enjoy our visits there!

  4. Lovely pictures along with "O Canada." Enjoy the celebrations, and Happy Birthday to your dad.



    Living in Minnesota I too feel lucky to have such a wondeful neighbor to our north.

  6. Happy Canada Day, Ruth. I hope you have a great day enjoying the festivities.

    Thanks for the history on O' Canada and also for the photos. An interesting post. Many do not know the history of the national anthem.


  7. As someone who is part Canadian, I too celebrate the wonderful country of Canada. Happy Canada Day.
    And happy birthday to Ruth's Dad--half as old as Canada, give or take a few (that line made me chuckle).

  8. Lovely Canada Day pictures, Ruth. It really is a beautiful country. Happy Birthday to your father as well. I hope you and your family will have a wonderful celebration. :)

  9. Anonymous1:00 pm GMT-4

    Ruth... I have say that I'm ashamed of myself being Canadian and never knew that there were other versus to our national anthem. What beautiful words to be kept hidden.

    It turned out to be a gorgeous day for Canada and your Dad's birthday, both are still so young.

    I love the picture of the two kids...so young, free spirited and innocent.


  10. Happy birthday, Dad! Enjoy Canada Day, Ruth.

  11. Happy Canada Day and Happy Birthday to your Dad!!

  12. Happy Canada Day from beautiful British Columbia, Ruth! And Happy Birthday to your dad!

  13. Thanks for all of the birthday greetings. I'm definitely well over half the age of Canada and still ebjoying good health.

    The blog was a very interesting history lesson and the photos were excellent.

  14. Happy Canada Day to you. The picture of the road has such a lovely quality to it. Is it a painting?

  15. Thanks for your comments. It is nice to hear that several of you consider Canada a good neighbour. Our history is so intertwined. Cheryl, we used to sing one other verse of O Canada in school ("where pines and maples grow"). The song is somewhat different than the original poem, which I had never come across before.

    FMDoc- That road is one of our nicest trails along the river. I took the picture on June 29th and my husband is in it, far ahead on the trail. We have had a lot of rain and the clouds have been spectacular.

    Dad- Hope you had a good day...76 is still young, especially with good health!

  16. Hi Ruth. I didn't realize Canada was so young. I always thought your country was about the same age as the U.S. Thanks for the "original" poem. I was able to imagine the tune to the poem. Your national anthem is so beautiful; we hockey fans enjoy singing it before games. We can only wish our anthem was more melodious, like America the Beautiful or even My Country 'Tis of Thee. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Canada, and a very happy birthday to your Dad.


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