Something to Sing About
(source: "Jubilee Songbook", Girl Guides of Canada, 1971; words and music by Oscar Brand.)
- From the Vancouver Island to the Alberta Highland
- 'Cross the Prairies, the lakes to Ontario's towers
- From the sound of Mount Royal's chimes, up to the Maritimes
- Something to sing about, this land of ours
I recently received another letter from a visitor to this site concerning the history of this song. Eliot Gardner writes:
I write regarding the comment [above] that the first line of Oscar Brand's wonderful song-of-praise of Canada ("Something to Sing About", also known in folk song circles as "This Land of Ours") could not be accurate because the Grand Banks of Newfoundland are underwater. True, they ARE underwater most of the time. But, the Grand Banks are treacherously shallow in places, which is why such horrific waves build up on them during storms, especially nor'easters (as depicted so chillingly in the book and film "The Perfect Storm"). And, during extraordinary low tides (such as autumnal storm low tides), parts CAN get so shallow as to cause a Grand Banks long-line fishing boat to scrape bottom (if the skipper takes his/her eyes off the depth meter) and to even permit fishing crews to get out and walk. The same is true on George's Banks, off the coast of Nova Scotia and New England. After all, in nautical terminology, a "bank" is simply a huge shoal - a plateau submerged in shallow ocean waters. Both the Grand Banks and George's Banks are so shallow that they were both above water during the last ice age, when sea depths world-wide were lower than today.
As a sailor, I have personally got off my boat and walked knee-deep on George's Banks approximately 150 Km southeast of Yarmouth, NS. And a friend who is a professional fisherman says that he has seen trawler and long-liner boat crews standing dry-shod on sand in roughly the same area during extraordinary low tides. Since present-day sea depths are roughly the same on the Grand Banks and George's Banks, similar things are possible (although extremely rare) on the Grand Banks.
Bottom line? Oscar Brand (born and raised in Winnipeg) probably didn't know - when writing the song - how improbable his first line is. But not literally impossible. And, yes, "I have walked many a mile on the shores of Prince Edward Isle" is a very nice opening line also!