The Maple Leaf Forever

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"The Maple Leaf Forever" is a Canadian song written by Alexander Muir (1830–1906) in 1867, the year of Canada's Confederation,[1] after serving in the Battle of Ridgeway against the Fenians in 1866.

Contents

History

Muir was said to have been inspired to write this song by a large maple tree which stood on his property: Maple Cottage, a house at Memory Lane and Laing Street in Toronto. The song became quite popular in English Canada and for many years served as an unofficial national anthem.[2][3] Because of its strongly British perspective it became unpopular amongst French Canadians, and this prevented it from ever becoming an official anthem, even though it was seriously considered for that role and was even used as a de facto anthem in many instances.[4]

It has been asserted that Muir's words, however, while certainly pro-British, were not anti-French, and he revised the lyrics of the first verse to "Here may it wave, our boast, our pride, and join in love together / The Lily, Thistle, Shamrock, Rose, the Maple Leaf forever"; adding "Lily", a French symbol, to the list. According to other accounts, this was actually the original wording. Muir was attempting to express that under the Union Flag the British and French were united as Canadians.[2]

"The Maple Leaf Forever" is also the authorized regimental march of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and The Royal Westminster Regiment.[4]

The song makes reference to James Wolfe capturing Quebec in 1759 during the Seven Years War and the Battle of Queenston Heights and Battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812.

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