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The Maple Leaf Forever was effectively Canada’s National Anthem from Confederation until the late 1960’s.  Soldiers of The Great War were taught The Maple Leaf Forever in school, and they sang to it while marching from the armouries to the troop trains.  They marched and sang to it on parades in England, and across the Channel when marching from a staging area to a fighting front.

Although Canadian Confederation was signed in Charlottetown with ink, Canada’s nationhood was signed in places like Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, and Passchendaele with blood.  Childhoods cut-short, young, Canadian soldiers rest under the tens of thousands of little white crosses and headstones all over Europe.  They held dear The Maple Leaf Forever because, to them, preserving the values, rights, and dignity for which the Maple Leaf stood, was worth dying for.

After the Canada flag was raised in 1965, the song’s words, referring to the Union flag, “Britannia’s flag” “Here may it wave” were no longer valid.  Furthermore, The Maple Leaf Forever made no mention of Canada’s French founding, and no French text was added.  No longer taught in schools, and no longer sung at official functions, it simply fell by the wayside.

However, today, when the RCMP Musical Ride trots out to it, or when it’s played by the Pipes and Drums of The 48th Highlanders, that passionately patriotic tune rings out CANADA to the bone; it’s the march-past tune for The Queen’s Own Rifles and the 1st PPCLI.

My wife Cathy, and I wrote a New song, for the 100th Anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, so we’ve included the Old Maple Leaf Forever to historically identify a song that Canadian heroes of the Great War proudly sang and marched to over a century ago.  

In the new song, we’ve modified the verse to reference Britannia’s flag in the past tense, transitioning to the juncture where the French founding is acknowledged by grafting the Fleur de Lis with the three British flowers, thus creating the Canadian icon, the Maple Leaf.  A French chorus was added, which if sung, would render the song as bilingual as O Canada.

Ted Ryczko

The Old Maple Leaf Forever

The Old Verse

In Days of yore, from Britain’s shore, Wolfe the dauntless hero came
And planted firm Britannia’s flag on Canada’s fair domain
Here may it wave, our boast, our pride
And joined in love together
The Thistle, Shamrock, Rose, entwine
The Maple Leaf Forever.

The Old Chorus

The Maple Leaf
Our emblem dear
The Maple Leaf Forever
God save our Queen
And Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf Forever.

The New Maple Leaf Forever

The New Verse

In Days of yore, from Britain’s shore, Wolfe the dauntless hero came
And planted firm Britannia’s flag on Canada’s fair domain
Here once it waved our boast, our pride
Then, the Fleur de Lis together
With the Shamrock, Thistle, Rose, entwine
The Maple Leaf Forever.

The French Chorus

La Feuille D’érable
Emblème Chère
La Feuille D’érable Toujours
Dieu Sauve La Reine
Et Le Ciel Bénisse
La Feuille D’érable Toujours.

The Old English Chorus follows:

The Maple Leaf
Our emblem dear
The Maple Leaf Forever
God save our Queen
And Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf Forever.