Tuesday, July 16, 2013

grave post - Muir

Alexander Muir moved to Canada as a baby from Scotland (Lesmahagow) in the 1830s (he was born April 5, 1830). He is best known as the composer of The Maple Leaf Forever. The story goes that in 1867, the year of Canada's Confederation, inspired by a large maple tree on his street, and/or a falling maple leaf that got stuck on his overcoat, he wrote the words in an evening and later composed the music himself when he couldn't find someone to write a suitable melody. The song is the regimental march of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada of which he was a member. He fought at the Battle of Ridgeway in 1866 (part of the Fenian Raids)
Alexander Muir's father was a teacher in a log cabin school in Scarborough and Alexander followed into the same career as a school teacher and principal as well as pursuing his interests in sports and the military. Reputedly, Muir was progressive in his teaching methods and, unlike some of his contemporaries, did not rely on the harsh discipline of the birch cane. Through poetry, music, and athletics he tried to instil in his students a deep respect for Canada and its history.  He was twice married, first to Agnes Thomson with whom he had two sons and a daughter; and secondly to Mary Alice Johnston, and they had one son and one daughter. He died on June 26, 1906 in Toronto. source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography
there is a mural dedicated to Muir and his maple tree near where he lived in east end Toronto
It won second prize for a contest for the best Canadian patriot song, but soon became an unofficial national anthem. There are some who think it should have become the official, but it is not, which is just as well as it completely ignores the French as one of the founding nations while glorifying the British wins of the Seven Years War, and the War of 1812.  Still, it has a nice rousing melody that is fun to sing (as I remember from my distant childhood) as you can hear.

He is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.

Taphophile Tragics


  1. We used to sing that in our little one room school.

    1. I didn't realize it had so many verses!
      perhaps we only sang the first one?

    2. I recall most of it....especially the first two and the last two...we may have skipped the middle. I temember we really lifted the roof with it lol.

  2. What an interesting man. Fantastic post!

    Beneath Thy Feet

  3. Really interesting post! Nice photos, and I learned something new! :) Thanks for sharing on Taphophile Tragics


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