Resource B: Anthems

The “Ode to Newfoundland”

The official anthem of Newfoundland and Labrador is the Ode to Newfoundland, written by Governor Sir Cavendish Boyle in 1902. The tune was composed by Sir Hubert Parry.

On May 20, 1904 it was chosen as Newfoundland’s official National Anthem (national being understood as a self-governing Dominion of the British Empire on par with Canada, South Africa, Australia and other former British colonies). This distinction was dropped when Newfoundland joined the Canadian Confederation in 1949.

Three decades later, in 1980, the province re-adopted the song as an official provincial anthem, the first province to do so. The “Ode to Newfoundland” is still sung at public events to this day as a tradition. Traditionally only the first and last verse is sung, but it is usually sung before either “O Canada” or “God Save Our Queen”.

The words to the “Ode to Newfoundland” are as follows:

“When sunrays crown thy pine-clad hills
And Summer spreads her hand
When silvern voices tune thy rills
We love thee smiling land
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee smiling land.

When spreads thy cloak of shimm’ring white
At Winter’s stern command
Thro’ shortened day and starlit night
We love thee frozen land
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee frozen land.

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore
And wild waves lash thy strand
Thro’ spindrift swirl and tempest roar
We love thee wind-swept land
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee wind-swept land.

As loved our fathers, so we love
Where once they stood we stand
Their prayer we raise to heav’n above
God guard thee Newfoundland
God guard thee, God guard thee
God guard thee Newfoundland.

Canada’s National Anthem – “O Canada

O Canada” is the national anthem of Canada. Calixa Lavallée wrote the music in 1880 as a setting of a French Canadian patriotic poem. “O Canada” served as one of two de facto national anthems after 1939, officially becoming Canada’s singular 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 national anthem is routinely played before sporting events involving Canadian teams.

When the first familiar chords of “O Canada” play at schools, hockey games and other events, Canadians stand with pride in honour of their country. “O Canada” was first sung in French over 100 years ago.

“O Canada” is as follows in both official languages:

Official English Official French
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!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.


Unofficial bilingual version

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

“God Save the Queen”

“God Save the Queen” (alternatively “God Save the King”, depending on the gender of the reigning monarch) is the National or Royal Anthem in a number of Commonwealth countries, including Canada. The author of the tune is unknown, but a 1619 attribution to John Bull is sometimes made.

By convention, “God Save the Queen” is sometimes played or sung in Canada together with the National Anthem, “O Canada“, at private and public events organised by the Government of Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion, etc. The Governor General (of Canada) and Lieutenant Governors (of the provinces) are normally accorded the “Vice-regal Salute”, comprising the first three lines of “God Save the Queen” followed by the first and last lines of “O Canada”.

The first verse of “God Save the Queen” is:
God save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen
God save The Queen!
Send her victorious
Happy and glorious
Long to reign over us
God save The Queen!

And in Canada’s other official language:
Dieu protège la reine
De sa main souveraine!
Vive la reine!
Qu’un règne glorieux
Long et victorieux,
Rende son peuple heureux.
Vive la reine!