Portraits Page 2 Great Canadian Portraits
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Music Composer, Patriot, Soldier, Teacher - Alexander Muir 1834-1906

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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure If there is a Canadian who has given more joy, through song, to countless generations of his countrymen and women, young and old, than this man, we do not know him.

To celebrate Confederation in 1867, Alexander Muir wrote "The Maple Leaf Forever," which became a Canadian anthem that was sung with genuine gusto by countless schoolchildren, and men as they marched to battle in Canada, South Africa, and Europe.

For almost a hundred years, it was "the" national anthem for Canada, and Canadians, before it was replaced by the more culturally correct dirge "Oh, Canada," which was the de facto National Anthem since 1939, and officially since 1980.

Nothing, in the later musical memory of this 9-year-old, newly arrived immigrant to Canada, has surpassed, in 61 years, the joyous sound of 40 of his classmates in a rural public school, as they belted out "The Maple Leaf Forever," their voices drifting across the farm fields of southern Ontario, in 1950 below.

Portrait, Chromolithograph, Alexander Muir (1830-1906) - 1907
Orig. chromolithograph - Size - 43 x 60 cm
Found - St. Jacobs, ON

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Alexander's magnified "chromolithographic-rendered" eye, made up of countless irregular pebbles of colour.

Which is why, unlike reproduction prints, chromolithographs are each produced individually and are considered "original prints."

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Chromolithograph Tutor

The Loss of a National Treasure - The Maple Leaf Forever...

Posing near the giant maple in the front yard are some of the students of the Ousley School in the farmland near Inwood, Ontario, in June, 1952. One teacher looked after all 30 odd students from grades one to eight in one room.

When they sang The Maple Leaf Forever inside the school, their exuberant voices carried out the windows and across the fields.

The song was their anthem to their country.

The tallest five, in the back from left to right:

Shirley Burr d, Nancy Murphy,
Beverly Burr,
Mike Recker,
Ivan Armstrong d.

Front three rows from left:

Calvin Armstrong, Arthur Johnson, Carol Clements d, Fred Goldi,
Nancy Clements, Heidi Goldi,
John Goldi,
Richard Johnson, Eileen Brownlee, unk,
Joey Recker fr,
Theresa Wright fr,
Evelyn Wright ba,
Joanne Wilcox ba,
Ina Mae Wilcox fr,
Gloria Johnson,
David Recker ba, Ueli Maier fr,
Frank Murphy,
Linda Murphy.

The song and the maple are gone now, as is the school, and some of the students...

Most never moved far from the part of the country they grew up in. Several are deceased and lie buried not far away.

Go to the Dude Who Left

Though one of the farm boys - an immigrant - stirred by Alexander Muir's patriotic song did move away and sought to seek out and memorialize the people, places, and events of his adopted country.

Sadly, today students no longer sing Alexander Muir's joyous verses, but solemnly intone the dirge-like lament, "Oh, Canada."

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