Mel Crawford: Adolphe-Basile Routhier
The respected Judge, Hon. Adolphe-Basile Routhier, was also a versatile writer. His literary works include historical essays, poetry and political theses. However, he is remembered best as the author of the beautiful French version of the song, O Canada. At the time that Lieutenant-Governor Théodore Robitaille of Quebec commissioned Calixa Lavallée to compose the moving music for O Canada, he also commissioned Routhier to write an appropriate poem to go with the music. From the time it was first heard on June 24, 1880, O Canada remained a favorite throughout French Canada. In 1908, when a Montreal lawyer, Robert Stanley Weir, wrote the accepted English words for O Canada, this version became a favorite among the country's English speaking citizens. Weir's poetic words were a tribute to Quebec's Tercentenary and, by 1921, they had been officially adopted by the Association of Canadian Clubs and other national bodies that often opened their regular meetings with the patriotic song. In 1927, and again in 1939, Weir's version was officially published to celebrate important national occasions. By this time, it had found its way into the hearts of a younger generation of Canadians when it was printed in front of grammar school books throughout the Canadian provinces. Today, both the French and English words for O Canada are widely accepted as appropriate versions of the unofficial Canadian national anthem, and the moving melody is heard all across Canada.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Combination Cover of the Canada 17¢ "O Canada" stamps issued June 6, 1980.
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