Anthems of Canada

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. Proclaimed to be Canada's national anthem on July 1, 1980, "O Canada" was first sung in French 100 years earlier.

Official lyrics of "O Canada"

English version

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us 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.

French version

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.

Bilingual version

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us 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.

Recordings of "O Canada"

Listen/download "O Canada", played by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra led by Peter Oundjian.

How to download audio files

If you would like to download the MP3 files for use with an audio player please follow the instructions below:

Instructions for PC users

  1. Find the link of the file you wish to download
  2. Right-click the link and select "Save link as" or "Save target as"
  3. Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the file
  4. Go to the location where you saved the file
  5. Open the file with a media player, such as Windows Media Player

Instructions for Mac users

  1. Find the link of the file you wish to download
  2. Press the Control key (Ctrl) and click on the link
  3. Select "Save link as" or "Download linked file as"
  4. Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the file
  5. Go to the location where you saved the file
Open the file by using a QuickTime Player for Mac or import it into iTunes Collage of 4 pictures showing a lake with mountains, an inukshuk, a red farm and a view of a lighthouse and a house near the water.

Downloadable products

  • Download the poster [PDF Version, 2 MB] of the official lyrics in English.
  • Download the sheet music [PDF Version, 63 KB] with the official lyrics in English and French.

History of the national anthem

After a hundred years of tradition, "O Canada" was proclaimed Canada's national anthem in 1980. The music for "O Canada" was composed in 1880 by Calixa Lavallée – a well-known composer at the time – and the French lyrics were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier.

As the song became more and more popular, many English versions were written over the years , including one based on a poem written in 1908 by The Honourable Robert Stanley Weir.  It was Weir's lyrics that became the official English version in 1980.

On January 31, 2018 legislation was passed to change the English lyrics from “True patriot love in all thy sons command” to “True patriot love in all of us command,” to make it gender neutral.

Read the full history of "O Canada", and learn about the lives of the people behind the anthem.

Timing and etiquette for anthem use

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 "O Canada" will be sung at the beginning or at the end of a ceremony. If two anthems are to be played at the beginning of an event, "O Canada" should be played first followed by the other one. 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 proper to stand for the playing of "O Canada"; this is also the case for the anthem of any other nation. It is traditional for civilian men to take off their hats during the playing of the national anthem. Women and children do not remove their hats on such occasions.

There is no law or behaviour governing the playing of the national anthem; it is left to the good citizenship of individuals.

Copyright and commercial use of the anthem

As the National Anthem Act only sets the melody 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. 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 other translated versions will not have an official status.

In terms of commercial use, both "O Canada" and "God Save The Queen" are in the public domain and may be used without having to obtain permission from the government.

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