The motto of the Dominion of Canada is A Mari Usque Ad Mare, which is officially translated as "From Sea to Sea" and "D'un ocean to the other". It can be loosely interpreted to mean "From sea to land", or simply "From one end of the country to the other".
A shorter version of the motto is Tole de Chien (Tide of Dogs). This phrase comes from a French legend about two young French noblemen who were sent to explore Canada. Using their dog as a guide, they traveled for many days until they reached a large lake. There they saw that the water was up to their necks so they dug a hole in the bank and waited for the flood to go down. When it had done so, they climbed out and went on their way.
Canada's official language is English, but several other languages are also spoken including French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Polish, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian.
Canada has a population of 35 million people with over 80 percent living in urban areas. The majority of Canadians are Christian, although members of other religions account for nearly 10 percent of the population. Most Christians are Catholic, though others include Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Pentecostals.
Ad mare Mariusque [a:'mari:' u:ske ad'mare]; French: D'un ocean a l'autre, French pronunciation: [doenose'a a'loUtR]; English: From sea to sea is a national anthem of Canada. It was officially adopted on January 1, 1980.
It is also used as the official motto of both Canada and its largest province, Quebec.
Mariusic refers to the Maritime Provinces - Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island - where most Canadians live. It is an adaptation of the original French motto for the colony of Nova Scotia, "From Sea to Sea", which was chosen by Governor Francis Nicholson in 1749. This phrase comes from a letter written by King George II of England in 1725, when he was told that a settlement had been founded in North America, stating that if this settlement became successful, other settlements could be built from it to connect the British colonies from Florida to Labrador.
In Latin, "Mare nostrum" translates as "Our Sea". The original French version is more poetic: "Océan qui es tout ouïe et terre qui est toute vision". Which means "Ocean who is everything heard and earth who is everything seen."
The official motto of Canada, which appears on its coat of arms, is "A Mari usque ad Mare," which translates as "From Sea to Sea." The term emerged as an aspirational declaration during Confederation, before Canada had enough land to make it a reality. At that time, the new country was made up of seven provinces and two territories: Quebec and Ontario.
In 1879, the government of Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie decided to adopt a new national motto. He called for proposals, with each proposal to be engraved on a medal struck for the occasion. After several rounds of voting, three medals were left; one proposed by a priest, one proposed by a professor, and one proposed by someone else. This last medal was chosen by lot as the winner. It read "Usque Ad Mare," or "Until Sea."
This decision was not without controversy. Some members of Parliament argued that the ocean should be included in the phrase, while others said "Usque Ad Mare" was too vague to be useful. In any case, it wasn't long before everyone agreed that "Usque Ad Mare" was the perfect motto for a nation spanning an entire continent!
Today, Canadians take pride in this statement which represents their country's identity and spirit of optimism.
(Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, by Karen E. Bailey). At that time, the country was made up of seven provinces and three territories: Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick joined together in 1867; Nova Scotia joined in 1867; and Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta became provinces in 1870, 1921, and 1905 respectively.
In French, the motto is "De la mer au delà," which means "From sea to sea." It was adopted in 1862 by order of the British government as part of Canadian Confederation. Before this date, the colony of Quebec had used a version of its original provincial seal with the phrase "Pro Patria et Fide" (For Country and Faith) written below the shield. This motto was chosen by the British government as part of its effort to translate into English the current motto of Quebec, which is "Le Bon Gouvernement Le Meilleur Dictate" (The Good Government Is Best Governed).
Canada's national coat of arms was designed in 1967 by Llewellyn Asher and Beryl Benderley. It features a shield divided into four parts: blue for water, red for earth, white for peace, and gold for prosperity.
1921 "He shall take dominion from sea to sea," says Psalm 72. As a result of that passage, Canada's national motto was formally changed to "from sea to sea" in 1921. However, in order to reflect inclusivity toward our northern citizens and the rising relevance of the Arctic, our national motto has lately been simplified to "Believe."
For more than 100 years, "Ile-de-France", has served as both a provincial and federal symbol of Quebec. "Ile-de-France" was originally used as one of the two flags of the Province of Quebec before it became the official flag in 1873. It remains the provincial flag today. But "Ile-de-France" has also been adopted by France as its own national emblem. And so it is only natural that some people may be confused as to why we at Library and Archives Canada have not chosen to use this proud French heritage instead of the simpler "Believe" slogan.
The original French version of our national anthem, "O Canada", was written by Sir George Francis Macdonald and first sung on July 1, 1880 at the opening of the St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto. The English language lyrics were composed several years later in 1889 by Edward Leighton (later Lord Leighton) for which he received $15,000 from Parliament through the Royal Bounty Fund. "O Canada!" has been translated into many languages including Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese.
Motto and Coat of Arms Following the First World War, Canada acquired an official coat of arms and a national motto, "A Mari Usque Ad Mare," which translates as "from sea to sea." England, France, Scotland, and Ireland are represented by emblems on the arms, as well as red maple leaves. The red maple leaf is also used as a symbol of resistance for both Canada and America.
The Canadian coat of arms was designed in 1920 by Edward Jordan, who was also responsible for designing the flag of Canada. It features four quarters, each representing one of the provinces or territories. Above the shield is a crown, which represents our head of state. The sword and scales are symbols of justice. And the torch and olive branch represent peace and freedom.
Canada's motto is derived from the Latin phrase "From Sea to Sea," which refers to the entire length of our border with the United States. The original version of the statement appeared on a banner that greeted French explorer Jacques Cartier when he arrived in what is now New Brunswick in 1534. He wrote about his experience living among the indigenous people there and returned home to France telling others how good life was in North America.
Cartier died soon after returning to France, but his words spread across Europe helping to foster interest in this new territory. In 1608, Henry IV of France issued a decree granting land along the Atlantic coast to anyone who would defend France against Spain.