Ontario Lieutenant-Governor pens ode to Canadian military

Posted Aug 1, 2014 by David Silverberg
The wife of Ontario Lieutenant-Governor David Onley commemorated Canada's military last night by singing her husband's song We Are the People of the Maple Leaf.
Ruth Ann Onley sings the ode to Canada written by her husband  Ontario Lieutenant-Governor David Onl...
Ruth Ann Onley sings the ode to Canada written by her husband, Ontario Lieutenant-Governor David Onley
Digital Journal
At a packed Varsity Stadium in downtown Toronto, crowds gathered for a a First World War 100th anniversary celebration. The highlight was a unique ode to the Canadian military, with lyrics written by David Onley, Ontario's Lieutenant-Governor who will retire in September.
His wife, Ruth Ann, an accomplished singer, sang the song with the Canadian Children’s Opera Co., part of In Memoriam, a University of Toronto multimedia event to mark the anniversary.
The lyrics include: “We are the people of the Maple Leaf. Proud to defend our home in war and peace; Guardians of land, of tree, of sky and sea; We are the people of the Maple Leaf.”
The ceremony also staged performances by the Massed Band of the Canadian Armed Forces and speeches by University of Oxford professor Margaret MacMillan and General Thomas Lawson, chief of the defence staff.
“We often talked about how there’s a lack of patriotic songs in Canada,” as David Onley said, according to the Globe & Mail. “I hope [Canadians] come away with a sense of pride and a sense of inspiration about the country” after hearing the song, he said.
Earlier this year, the Lieutenant-Governor said he heard the inspiration for the song a couple years ago. Once he heard Highland Cathedral, a melody written for pipes and drums that is often performed in Scotland, he knew this was the ideal love song for Canada.
"In my mind, it announced itself as just a wonderfully patriotic tune," Onley told CBC News.
On Thursday night, Ruth's performance evoked a standing ovation from the appreciative audience. Her husband wasn't surprised.
“Every time that Ruth has performed it, there’s been a standing ovation,” he said. “That really anchored it in our minds that we were really onto something.”