Canadian
National Anthem


O Canada!
The Man Behind the English Lyrics

Robert Stanley Weir was born in Hamilton in what was then known as Canada West (Ontario) in 1856. He took all of his higher education in Montreal where he became qualified as both a teacher and a lawyer, but chose law as his career.

Weir's law career advanced rapidly, and, before long, he was appointed judge: first as Recorder of the City of Montreal and then to the Exchequer Court of Canada (Federal Court of Canada). In 1908, during his time as Recorder, Weir wrote the English lyrics to 'O Canada' in honour of Quebec City's 300'th anniversary:

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!
And stand on guard, O Canada
We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, glorious and free,
We stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

The poem was later published in an official form in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation in 1927 and during the Royal visit of 1939. With a few changes, the first verse of the poem was proclaimed the National Anthem of Canada in 1980. (Complete poem follows.)

Robert's notariety as a poet allowed him to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Coincidentally, the Society was partially founded by Adolphe-Basile Routhier, who wrote the French lyrics to 'O Canada'.

Weir represented Argenteuil in the Quebec Legislative Assembly from 1903 to 1910, during which he served in several ministries. He died in 1926.


Complete Poem

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!
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.

(Refrain)
O Canada, glorious and free!
We stand on guard, 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!

(Refrain)

O Canada! Beneth 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!

(Refrain )

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

(Refrain )

Read and Hear 'O Canada!'
Complete History of 'O Canada!'
Calixa Lavallee (composer)
Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier (French lyricist)
The Honourable Robert Stanley Weir (English lyricist)

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