1. The Canadian National Anthem is “O Canada”. “God Save the Queen” is also heard often, but Canada shares that song with Britain.
  2. There are two sets of lyrics (words): English and French. Canadians usually sing the anthem in their own first language. But at public events, especially federal government ceremonies, people often sing partly in English and partly in French. (This does not always work well. In his book, Straight from the Heart, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wrote about trying to lead a crowd in the National Anthem. He sang in French, as he didn’t know the English words. He hoped everyone else would join in, in English. But no one else started singing, and he had to sing the whole song by himself.)
  3. The French lyrics were written first. They were written as a poem by a judge in Québec, Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. A composer, Calixa Lavallée, wrote the music for them. This was done in 1880 for a French-Canadian convention.
  4. The English lyrics were written in 1908. Robert Stanley Weir, also a judge, wrote the words used today. He was not the first to try. In that year, a magazine held a contest to come up with English words for the anthem. The winner was Mercy E. Powell McCulloch. But her lyrics never became popular.
  5. The French and English lyrics do not have the same meaning. The French words talk about ancestors, war, and religion. The English words are about “glowing hearts” and “the true North”.
  6. “O Canada” became the official National Anthem in 1980. This happened on July 1st of that year – Canada Day.
  7. It’s sung at Canadian citizenship ceremonies. People becoming citizens are encouraged to learn it for this occasion.
  8. People are expected to stand up when the anthem is played. But this is not a law – just good manners.
  9. It’s in the public domain. That means that no one owns the copyright. Anyone can use this song without payment.
  10. To hear the music and read the words of all versions, visit the Canadian Heritage site, here [http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/symbl/anthem-eng.cfm#a10]

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