The man who wrote the English lyrics for “O Canada”

Robert Stanley Weir, BCL1880, DCL1897, was an accomplished teacher, lawyer and judge. His poetry was good enough to earn him membership in the Royal Society of Canada, and many remember him as the man who wrote the English lyrics for “O Canada.”

The original French version of the song, composed by Calixa Lavallée, with French lyrics by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier, became hugely popular, and scores of songwriters attempted to compose an English equivalent. The version that won widespread public acceptance was penned by Weir in 1908. By the time the First World War erupted, Weir’s version of “O Canada” was the best-known patriotic song in the country. In 1980, the federal government officially adopted it as Canada’s national anthem, with minor modifications.