Intended to instill a sense of communal national pride, “O Canada” occupies a significant place in the Canadian public’s imagination. Played in schools and sung at sporting events nationwide, many Canadians know the melody and lyrics by heart. However, few are aware of the national anthem’s colourful history.
In the following exhibit, you will discover the compositional context of “O Canada” and examine different versions of the piece from our library’s extensive Canadian Sheet Music Collection. A historical narrative of the anthem will be traced, delving into the nineteenth century French Canadian origins of the piece and the struggle for English lyrical uniformity. The exhibit concludes by scrutinizing the issues facing us as twenty-first century Canadians, as we strive to establish a version of our national anthem that better reflects the rich diversity of our country, its people, and environment.
Please stop by the University of Toronto Faculty of Music to see the physical exhibit, which begins in the lobby and continues downstairs in the displays outside the library.
Jardena Gertler-Jaffe ; Sadie Menicanin ; Tim Neufeldt ; James Mason