This Day in History June 24: “O Canada” First Performed
Chant national with calixa lavallee

The original musical notes of O Canada were published. The composer, Calixa Lavallee, is on the cover.

Canada’s National Anthem was originally known as “Chant national”. The lyrics were written in French by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier, a judge in Québec City and the music was composed Calixa Lavallée who was a music teacher in Quebec. O Canada was first performed in Québec City on June 24, 1880 and the words have remained the same since that time.

Robert Stanley Weir, born in Hamilton, Ontario became a judge in Canada’s Federal Court. Though there were many English versions of “O Canada” it was Weir’s version which he wrote in 1908 that has stood the test of time. The English version uses the same melody as composed by Calixa Lavallée. Incidentally, the Canadian government actually owns the rights to the English lyrics.

Here’s a version of “O Canada” with the original English lyrics.


In February 2007, at an NHL game in Calgary, Cree singer Akina Shirt became the first person ever to perform “O Canada” in the Cree language at a public event.

It would still take another 70+ years until both the French and English versions of “O Canada” were approved as Canada’s National Anthem which happened on March 15, 1967 and the anthem was finally officially adopted as law on July 1, 1980.

In a day, a mature oak tree can draw approximately 50 gallons of water.
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