It is the song we all know.
But know nothing about.
The O Canada Project will bring to life the extraordinary story of our national anthem and of its brilliant , but forgotten composer. At a time of national reckoning about our history and as we emerge from the profound disruptions of the pandemic, the O Canada project is our opportunity to learn more about what makes us Canadian.
O Canada is the universally recognized symbol of our nation, played and sung at moments of triumph and celebration, at community gatherings across our vast land and as the fanfare opening the day in schools from coast to coast to coast. But in an era calling symbols into question is our song a force for unity or ignominy?
While even the most tone deaf Canadian can at least hum a few off key bars, few could name our anthem’s composer, Calixa Lavallée—a man once dubbed Canada’s first “National Musician, but now sadly obscure.
The O Canada Project aspires to right this wrong.
The central goal of the O Canada Project is to ensure that every school child, and every adult, every Canadian from coast to coast to coast learns the story of the anthem—of the people behind it and of its contentious and complicated history.
Should we think of O Canada as stirring and inspirational? Or sexist and colonialist? A celebration of national pride or an insult to minorities? And what is an anthem for, anyway?
Our anthem’s journey is a reflection of our nation, in all its paradoxes, turmoil and triumphs. In this challenging moment in our history, when a public health crisis forces us to keep our distance, cancel public gatherings and avoid singing together as a community there is a pressing need for an initiative that can help build our collective sense of citizenship and nationhood.
The project is built around a feature length documentary (working title: ‘Our Song’), the first ever to take on this neglected story, bringing it to life in a way that is accessible, compelling and entertaining, infused with music, dance and youthful energy.
An integral part of the production will be an array of educational materials, geared to several grade levels, that will be made available to schools across the country to support the teaching of the O Canada story.
The O Canada Project is the brainchild of Producer / Director Isabella Cairess Favaro, creator of the acclaimed documentary Leap of Faith: The Dance of Mikhail Baryshnikov. Favaro Mallen Films Inc is working in collaboration with Breakout Educational Network, a registered charity whose mission is to produce educational materials related to Canadian cultural, social, economic and political themes.
The O Canada Project will cause us all to look at our anthem with new insight, clarity and context, while showcasing the brilliance of Canadian artists in music, dance and drama.
Inquires: Please contact Isabella Cairess Favaro 416-561-8547
To donate to this project:
Online: via Canada Helps – Click Here To Donate
By Phone: 416-561-8547 cell
By Mail: Please make cheques payable to:
Breakout Educational Network – O Canada Project
1200 Bay Street, Suite 303
Toronto, ON, M5R 2A5
Breakout will send you a charitable receipt via mail or by email.
Breakout Educational Network is a registered charitable educational organization.
Charitable registration #1020072-21.