Canada's National Anthem in Unofficial Languages


Canada's National Anthem

This website is dedicated to documenting the many translations of Canada's national anthem: O Canada. Canada has two official languages: French and English and O Canada has lyrics in both. Not too many people realize it but the lyrics of the two official versions are not identical and when you think about it, it makes sense as the two languages are different. Each language has takens liberties with phrases and words to best suite the purpose of our anthem: respect and promote the passion of our country.

The Canadian government has a website on our National Anthem that details its history, official lyrics and music. The music was composed by Calixa Lavallee, a well-known composer; French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The English version of O Canada started out as a poem in 1908 by Stanley Weir

O Canada's music bears an uncanny similarity to Mozart's March of the Priests (The Magic Flute)!

It is interesting that when other countries research translating their national anthems into other tongues, they use Canada as an example of what works. In Israel, there is great discussion on translating the Israeli national anthem from Hebrew to Arabic. This article in the Mid East Web Forum discusses the problems with translation and offers an interesting insight into our own heritage not known by Joe Canadian.

There is a big stink about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics opening with O Canada sung in Hindi as the translation is not the same as in English version (maybe they used the French version?). I have searched but can't find the Hindi translation and would appreciate a copy if you know of one. I am also looking specifically for a Slovak translation as my Grandparents were immigrants from Slovakia and it would be nice to share the meaning of O Canada.

I thought that it would great to have a music video of O Canada sung in many languages. Guess what? Bombardier did it here:

Bombardier's O Canada Olympic Advertisement

O Canada Lyrics - some sung

O Canada Instrumentals:

O Canada Performed by a group:

O Canada Sung by Celebrities:

Misc Tidbits:


Other Translations

If you have a translation of O Canada into another language and you want to share it, contact me at:

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