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Canadian National Songs



In April, 1898, the Montreal 'Witness' offered four prizes of $50, $25, $15 and $10 respectively for the four best national songs sent in before Aug. 1, 1898 In response to this offer over seven hundred songs were received, some coming from England, South Africa, Australia and even the United States. These were sent to the three Canadian judges, who selected from among them the ten best. These ten were then sent to the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, whose final decision is given in the accompanying letter:

Clandeboye, County Down, Ireland,
Feb. 3, 1899.

Gentlemen,—In reply to your communication of the 6th of January, in which you are good enough to ask for my decision as to the four best songs out of the ten submitted to my judgment, I beg to append, in what appears to be the relative order of merit, a list of those I have selected. I think it. however, right to add that the comparative superiority of any one of them over the others must be regarded as very slight. I return you herewith the entire set.

I have the honor to be, gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,

Relative order of merit of first four poems:—

  1. 'Canada Forever,'
  2. 'Canada Fair,'
  3. 'National Song,' by Ceres.
  4. 'Hymn to Canada.'


Feb. 3, 1899.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).