Era Inducted To: Pioneer Era
Lyricist(s):Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir (1908)
While first sung on June 24, 1880, during the Congrès National des Canadiens-Français in Quebec City, O Canada was not proclaimed Canada’s national anthem until July 1, 1980. Calixa Lavallée, a well-known composer and music teacher from Quebec, composed the music based on a poem written by Sir Adolphe-Basile. Following its debut in 1880, the song was largely known only in Quebec. But in 1901, it was performed to honour the visit of the future King George V and Queen Mary to Canada. The lyrics by Mr. Justice Robert Stanley Weir were published in 1908. By 1914, O Canada was the best-known patriotic song in Canada. In 1927, the government authorized an official version for schools and for use at public functions. For decades, O Canada and God Save the Queen were given similar recognition as national anthems. Finally in 1966, as Canada’s centenary loomed, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson led the move to install O Canada as the country’s anthem. O Canada became an official symbol of the nation in 1980. The Canadian government owns the rights to the English lyrics.