I was talking to Doug Ross about not being
able to find any Canadian songs to sing and as a result he sent me in
these two emails which I thougt I'd simply include here and especially
for all those Canadians in Kimberly who didn't know any Canadian songs
when Billy and David were singing Scottish ones :-)
Hi, Alastair :)
It is impossible for me
to translate my C64 disk of songs (music & words) to these new-fangled
machines, so I went to the internet and searched for a site that had
most of them. Many of these songs have been included in Canadian song
books used in the classrooms of Ontario. The website is
http://members.shaw.ca/tunebook/index.htm, which includes words and
The first two songs on any list would be ...
- O Canada
- The Maple Leaf Forever
The latter was written by a Toronto teacher
and principal of Leslieville Public School in Toronto's East end. He was
Alexander Muir (1830 - 1906). The words aren't very popular in Quebec
... but many consider it Canada's Unofficial Anthem.
Songs from Quebec, which pupils learn in
French classes are ...
- Vive la Canadienne
- En roulant ma boule
Auprès de ma blonde
À la claire fontaine
. . . . . and quite a few others.
Songs from Newfoundland include ...
- I's The B'y
- We'll Rant and We'll Roar
and Labrador would claim ...
- Jack Was Every Inch A Sailor
The Maritimes, particularly Nova Scotia,
would own ...
- Farewell To Nova Scotia
- The Squid Jiggin' Ground
A song sung where canals were built along
the seaway ...
- Donkey Riding (A donkey
is an engine used to pull ships along the canal.)
Here are a few from Ontari-ari-ari-o ...
- The Log Driver's Waltz
- Land of The Silver Birch
- The Huron Carol
- Canadian Boat Song (the
one by Irish poet Thomas Moore after a visit to Canada ... not the one
with Scottish-Canadian roots and written by an anonymous poet.)
Then there is Manitoba ...
- Red River Valley
and Alberta ...
- The Alberta Homesteader
not to forget my favourite Yukon poet,
Robert Service ...
- When The Ice-worms Nest Again
Other individuals might add a few more songs
from the list.
I have at least twenty more songs, but
it would be best if I can locate some music as well. Some of them have
copyright laws still in effect. I'll return with the titles ... even if
nothing more is available.
One of the most famous of the Canadian
service songs after WWII is The North Atlantic Squadron,
probably attributed to the 10th Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron which
kept the shipping lanes open. I used to know about ten verses. I doubt
if you will include it in your list ... even though it was popular. I'll
be leaving that to you ... in case you decide to use a search engine
such as http://www.google.ca
Hi, Alastair :)
You have undoubtedly concluded (as I have
long ago) that there is a strong fervour for "all things Scottish"
amongst the living Canadian descendants of those survivors from the
various forms of the clearances in the Highlands. I was not
surprised on September 6th, 2003, to find the former Pipe Major of the
Toronto Police Pipe Band helping to organize the parade for the Long's
Point Scottish/Irish Festival in Estes, Colorado. Naturally, I am
prejudiced since he was wearing the Dress Ross Tartan worn by Pipe
Major Thomas Ross when the TPPB was formed in 1912.
Most of us, who now call Canada home, have
learned to participate in a country filled with those who have been
subjected to "Clearances" and "Ethnic Cleansings" around the world.
Our national icons are still a "work in progress", our culture has a
very "unique quality" in North America, and our preference for
"peacekeeping over support of unilateral peacemaking" has earned
respect around the world (beginning with Lester Bowles Pearson, I
might add). [Our overt display of patriotism and nationalism is very
much subdued in comparison with many other countries, and all credit
is due to the diplomatic character of Lester Bowles Pearson.]
However, we Canadians are properly proud of the artistic
accomplishments of our fellow citizens.
The picture of Canada's most famous racing
boat is featured on the Canadian dime. The song was written and
published by David A. Martins in 1963, and the words and music may be
found at the same site.
- The Bluenose
This song was made famous by the Wakami
Wailers, the last of the white pine loggers, at Wakami Lake Provincial
Park in Northern Ontario.
- The Lumber Camp Song
Here's another one from Northern Ontario
which should be on everyone's list. The discordant background to the
melody is a tribute to the annoying buzz of the insect.
- The Black Fly Song
I found a wee snippit sung by children
from a school in the Abitibi Canyon.
The Canadian Girl Guide Song Book is a
good source for some lyrics, but you might have to find the music
- Something to Sing About
- They Call it Canada
Other patriotic songs relate to
Canada's Celebration of Confederation in 1967. The Centennial Song was
composed by Bobby Gimby, and you may click on either the English or
the French version here ...
- A Place To Stand
(Ontari-ari-ari-o) was also written in 1967. Words are here
I was mildly surprised to see that the
college song of my Alma Mater merited inclusion with some heritage
lists of Canadian Music.
- On the Old Ontario Strand
Songwriter Gene MacLellan was born in Val
D'Or, PQ, but lived most of his life in Summerside, PEI. A few of his
songs were made famous by Anne Murray of Springhill, NS.
- Put Your Hand in the Hand
At the risk of being repetitious, you'll
note that many songs about Canada and by Canadians are listed at this
Only one of the songs in the list did not
involve a Canadian composer, and that was Canadian Sunset
with words by Norman Gimbel of Brooklyn NY and music by Eddie Heywood
of Atlanta GA.
However, here is one song which was
written near Hamilton ON ...
- When You and I Were Young,
Two songs, written by Canadian Bob Nolan
of Edmunston NB, may be a surprise to quite a few people because they
became theme songs for well-known American singers.
- Tumbling Tumbleweed
- Cool Water (1936)
The words to both songs may be found with
other cowboy songs at ...
The "music" for Tumbling Tumbleweed
may be found at ...
and the "music" for Cool Water may be found at ...
Singer and writer Ian Tyson was born in
British Columbia, but wrote this song in Longview, AB ...
- Four Strong Winds
Gordon Lightfoot of Orillia,
Ontario, wrote this song and made it famous ...
- The Wreck of The Edmund
The lyrics are here ...
In case you need more titles, here are
some more. Some songs have copyright laws still in effect.
It would take a lifetime to explore each
of the threads which I have provided in this final instalment alone.