Friday, 29 June 2012

Canada Day, 1534-1867-2012

This is our 145th Canada Day since the unification of the Nation, however Canada goes back to 1534 when Jacques Cartier arrived from France. We have a couple of anniversary this year, the Canadian dollar coin, the Loonie is 25 years old and Health Care for all Canadians is 50 years old, imagine you get sick, don't worry, you will get care. This is what makes Canada a great country.

August 18, 1665 my family ancestor joined in Quebec City, his regiment who were arriving on a French War ship called L'Aigle d'Or de Brouage. He was 18 years old, he was what was called an ''engagé'' meaning he was hiring himself, not uncommon at the time for single men who had to fend for themselves. He had been living and working as a footman in Quebec City in the French Governor's castle since 1662, meaning that he was 15 years old when he first arrived on his own in Canada, of course in those days of the Age of Princes there was no such thing as teenagers, you were a man then and made your way. A milestone 350 years in Canada, for my family. He must have been feisty because there are Court records showing his acquittal for a ''bagarre'' street fight.

I was at Parliament Hill today to see the set up and the different bands doing their sound checks. Also this weekend on Sunday, Italy plays against Spain and Preston Street will be very busy, if Italy wins the soccer match there will be quite a party to accompany the one on Canada day.

We are doing a steak bar-b-q and will probably watch the fireworks from the roof of our building, I am not going to the Hill, too many people. We are close and will be able to see it all in comfort. Now is time to go hang the flag, the same flag I have used since 1976 on every Canada Day, a flag that has travelled with me around the world.

the words to the Anthem composed as a poem with lyrics in French by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier and music by Calixa Lavallée in 1880. It only became by an Act of Parliament in 1980, the Official National Anthem of Canada, thank you to our then Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau. The words of this anthem have a strange religious (Roman Catholic) sound to them and the Canadiens are what is called since 1980 the Quebecois. It was originally composed as a National Anthem to the Ancient Canadiens, people who settled in French Canada from 1534 to 1763. How strange that it would become the National Anthem of all Canadians.
It will be adapted in English much later and the text in translation is different but all the same powerful.

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.
Sous l'œil de Dieu, près du fleuve géant,
Le Canadien grandit en espérant.
Il est né d'une race fière,
Béni fut son berceau.
Le ciel a marqué sa carrière
Dans ce monde nouveau.
Toujours guidé par sa lumière,
Il gardera l'honneur de son drapeau,
Il gardera l'honneur de son drapeau.
(This last part is rarely if ever sung and is not part of the official anthem anymore)
De son patron, précurseur du vrai Dieu,
Il porte au front l'auréole de feu.
Ennemi de la tyrannie
Mais plein de loyauté,
Il veut garder dans l'harmonie,
Sa fière liberté;
Et par l'effort de son génie,
Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité,
Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité.
The english lyrics are as follows:
O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons 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.

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