A WANDERING CANADIAN
The lyrics of this well-known and well-loved song were composed
in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie when he was 18 years
old and studying rhetoric at the Nicolet Seminary. The melody
is a slower adaptation of a folk song entitled Par derrière
chez ma tante (In My Aunt's Backyard).
"From the beginning, this song was a favorite among
French Canadians. It has become a part of our popular literature.
(...) The troubles of 1837-1838 struck a chord in our imaginations.
From the sunny banks of the Nicolet River, he [Gérin-Lajoie]
watched as ships carried the accused of the insurrection to
distant colonies. (
) (They were the 58 Patriots deported
to the penitentiary camp in Longbottom, Australia.)
This scene inspired him to write these verses, which were
printed in the gazette ; before long, they became a national
) It is the most recognized of our popular
If A Wandering Canadian were ever forgotten, Canada
could no longer be called home by the Canadians wandering
abroad or settled in other parts of America.
It is an honor for us to have given birth to a song such
as this. It is evidence of an undying nationality. Even if
we were to cease to exist as a distinct society, historians
would record these simple verses whose enduring meaning and
message mark our passage on this globe, where race after race
is forgotten, often leaving no other trace than the name it
(Benjamin Sulte, excerpt from an article in local newspaper
Le Trifluvien, on August 18, 1898.)
The Wandering Canadian appears here as both a historical
character and a myth created through a song, as symbolized
by the treble clef he carries.
This steel sculpture was created by Nicolet artist Sébastien
Brassard, based on an idea by Pierre Chatillon. The final
coat was applied by Trois-Rivières artist Pierre Landry.
This sculpture was donated to the Literary Park in 2000 by
the local chapter of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste
and by the Fondation Monseigneur Parenteau.
to the park ]