National anthem of Canada

When the first familiar chords of “O Canada” play at schools, sport matches and other events, Canadians stand with pride in honour of their country.

On this page you will find the lyrics, the sheet music and videos of the English, French, bilingual, instrumental and sign language versions of the national anthem. Please note that the recordings below may be used for official, ceremonial and non-commercial use. They have been graciously provided courtesy of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Please credit the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the artists when using these recordings.

Read more about the history of the national anthem, as well as the etiquette surrounding its use, and the applicable copyright.

English version

French version

Bilingual version

Instrumental version

History of the national anthem

“O Canada” was proclaimed Canada's national anthem in 1980, a century after it was first sung in 1880. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallée, and the French lyrics were written by Adolphe-Basile Routhier.

While many English adaptations of the song were written, the English lyrics adopted in 1980 are based on a version written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908.

These lyrics were modified in 2018, when legislation was passed to change the English lyrics. The line “True patriot love in all thy sons command” was changed to “True patriot love in all of us command,” in order to make the lyrics gender neutral.

Read the history of “O Canada,” and learn about the people behind the anthem.

Etiquette concerning the national anthem

There is no specific rule as to when it is appropriate to sing the national anthem at an event. It is up to the organizers to determine if instrumental or sung versions of “O Canada” will be used, and whether these will occur at the beginning or at the end of the event. If 2 anthems are to be played at an event, precedence should be given to “O Canada” when on Canadian soil. At the beginning of an event, “O Canada” should be played first followed by the other anthem. When anthems are played at the end of an event, “O Canada” should be played last.

As a matter of respect and tradition, it is customary, where appropriate, to stand for the playing of “O Canada”; this is also the case for the anthem of any other nation. While previous traditions called for civilian men to remove their hats, current practice carries no such expectation and leaves the decision to keep or remove head coverings to the individual, regardless of gender. Traditions and practices surrounding head coverings with cultural and/or religions significance should be respected.

Generally, audiences should not applaud after the playing of the national anthem.

The points of etiquette mentioned above are intended as guidelines. There are no laws or rules governing the playing of the national anthem.


As the National Anthem Act only sets the melody and the lyrics for the anthem, musicians are free to arrange the score to suit their needs.

There is no copyright on the melody and the words of the national anthem, the Act having declared them to be in the public domain. They may be used without having to obtain permission from the government. However, it is possible to copyright the arrangements made to the melody.

While the words of the national anthem may be translated in languages other than English or French, it should be noted that only the English and French lyrics are set in the Act. Other translated versions do not have an official status.

It should also be noted that the Royal Anthem “God Save The King” is also in the public domain.

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