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Published on Jan 30, 2013
♦ "O Canada" is the national anthem of Canada. The song was originally commissioned by Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Théodore Robitaille for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony; Calixa Lavallée wrote the music as a setting of a French Canadian patriotic poem composed by poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The lyrics were originally in French and translated into English in 1906. Robert Stanley Weir wrote in 1908 another English version, which is the official and most popular version, one that is not a literal translation of the French. Weir's lyrics have been revised twice, taking their present form in 1980, but the French lyrics remain unaltered. "O Canada" had served as a de facto national anthem since 1939, officially becoming Canada's national anthem in 1980 when the Act of Parliament making it so received Royal Assent and became effective on July 1 as part of that year's Dominion Day celebrations.
♦ "The Maple Leaf Forever" is a Canadian song written by Alexander Muir (1830--1906) in 1867, the year of Canada's Confederation. He wrote the work after serving with the Queen's Own Rifles of Toronto in the Battle of Ridgeway against the Fenians in 1866. Muir was said to have been inspired to write this song by a large maple tree which stood on his street in front the Maple Cottage, a house at Memory Lane and Laing Street in Toronto. The song became quite popular in English Canada and for many years served as an unofficial national anthem. Because of its strongly British perspective it became unpopular amongst French Canadians, and this prevented it from ever becoming an official anthem, even though it was seriously considered for that role and was even used as a de facto anthem in many instances. It has been asserted that Muir's words, however, while certainly pro-British, were not anti-French, and he revised the lyrics of the first verse to "Here may it wave, our boast, our pride, and join in love together / The Lily, Thistle, Shamrock, Rose, the Maple Leaf forever"; adding "Lily", a French symbol, to the list. According to other accounts, this was actually the original wording. Muir was attempting to express that under the Union Flag the British and French were united as Canadians. "The Maple Leaf Forever" is also the authorized regimental march of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and The Royal Westminster Regiment. The song makes reference to James Wolfe capturing Quebec in 1759 during the Seven Years' War and the Battle of Queenston Heights and Battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812.