Calgary Stampede reverts to English-only ‘O Canada’

The Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon event has been whipping crowds into a patriotic fervour since 1912. This year, however, Stampede event organizers say one aspect of the nightly spectacle is putting a damper on people’s enthusiasm: singing the French verses of O Canada

On Saturday, the second night of the Stampede, officials decided to drop French verses from the national anthem after receiving “overwhelming” feedback from spectators who said that the French lyrics were holding them back from expressing their patriotism.

“We obviously want a lot of audience participation when the anthem is sung, and we weren’t getting that participation Friday night,”  Stampede spokesperson Doug Fraser, told the Calgary Herald, referring to the opening night, when French lyrics were included in the national anthem. 

While the decision return to a unilingual anthem may have made many in Calgary sing louder and prouder, the decision did not sit well with some Quebec tourists. A delegation from Quebec City declined to comment, but Montreal-born Brigitte Donnon told the Herald “Canada is supposed to be bilingual.” 

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.