"O Canada! Our home and native land!" We've all (or at least some of us) heard Canada's catchy national anthem. While the song might sit subconsciously in the brain of all Canadians, its oh-so famous lyrics are about to get a serious makeover...
Following decades of attempts, Canada has finally passed a bill to change the lyrics of the English version of the country’s national anthem ‘O Canada’ to become more gender neutral. In the second line of the anthem, the line “in all thy sons command” will be replaced with “True patriot love in all of us command”. Queue the collective jump for joy; this is an amazing recognition of the fact that all genders are worthy of a shout-out in the national anthem.
The change may be a small one, but insignificant it absolutely is not. Even Senator Frances Lankin, who sponsored the bill, agrees that it’s a monumental leap in the right direction, stating that it’s a huge step in terms of Canada’s national symbols and the anthem that they sing with pride about their country.
Even eight years ago when Canada was the host of the Winter Olympic Games, there was reluctance from some Canadians to wave the maple leaf flag and sing ‘O Canada.’ Nevertheless, the song is still sung each morning by Canadian schoolchildren and in sporting events.
It raises the point that sometimes you become so used to your country’s national symbols, imagery and lyrics that you rarely stop to reflect on what they actually mean, and whether they represent you rather than the people who created the lyrics at the time.
Surprisingly, the original version of the anthem was in fact gender neutral but was then changed to include the word ‘sons’ (yep, we’re mad too). At the time that the words were changed, women in Canada weren’t even allowed to vote. Female and male campaigners alike have been pushing for the anthem to reflect all Canadians since the 1980’s, and their efforts have finally been rewarded with a national anthem that every Canadian can be proud of.
Yet again, Canada has impressed us with its ability to recognise when things need to change and progress. With all that beauty and equality oozing out of its mountains, rivers and cities (not to mention a pretty hot PM), it’s pretty hard to resist as a travel destination, don’t you think?