A Canadian Connections Sampler/Un échantillon des Connexions canadiennes
The Ship Titanic – Like the movie Titanic was the dream and a creation of a man born in Canada. She sank in waters off Canada’s Grand Banks and carried passengers from every part of Canada. Her radio messages reached the world via a Newfoundland wireless station. Her victims’ bodies were retrieved by Canadian ships and buried in Halifax cemeteries.
The Maple Leaf Together – New lyrics (also in French) to a song written by Toronto teacher, Alexander Muir, in 1867. It became the national song of English speaking Canada but was offensive to many Quebeckers for its celebration of Wolfe’s planting Britain’s flag on Canadian soil. (“O Canada!” was considered a Québec song until 1908 when it was translated for the tercentenary of Québec’s founding by Samuel de Champlain.)
Which flag is your flag? – A parody of Woody Guthrie”s “This Land” grew out of the Great Canadian Flag Debate of 1964 and was recorded by The Brothers in Law, a group of moonlighting RCMP officers. The verses here are original. Verse 3 ends with a reference to former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, whose brother was a vice-president of Imperial Oil Limited.
Capital Cities of Canada – Most students have had at least one teacher who came up with a song, poem or other gimmick to help recall information for an exam. Here’s a list of capitals under four headings.
Something to Sing About/Quelque chose à chanter – Expatriate Oscar Brand wrote this in 1963 and it became an unofficial hit. The French lyrics, premièred at the 1989 Regina Folk Festival, were intended to highlight French Canadians’ influence in the names and history across Canada.
They all call it Canada/On l’appelle le Canada – Sir Wilfrid Laurier (7th prime minister) travelled across Canada by rail and said “I live in a cathedral.” This song was written by German born Fritz Grundland who came to the country as a detainee during World War II, starting with Laurier’s line. It became a favourite of Scouts, Guides and CGIT at summer camps and can be sung in 105 seconds. The French words are original.
Le navire Titanic – A French version of the opening song with whistle sound from the Princess Patricia (featured in “Connections/Passages”).