Posted by: rcottrill | January 10, 2011

Canadian Hymns

There are quite a number of our hymns that either were written by Canadians, or have some kind of significant connection with Canada. The following is not intended to be a complete list, but it provides a number of examples.

Crown Him With Many Crowns, was written, in part, by Matthew Bridges (1800-1894), who spent many years in Canada.

I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go, was written by Mary Houghton Brown, born in Canada in 1856. She died in Connecticut in 1918, a victim of the influenza epidemic.

Unto the Hills, was written by John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845-1914), a former (and very popular) Governor General of Canada.

So Send I You, and many other hymns, were written by Canadian Edith Margaret Clarkson (1915-2008), born in Melfort, Saskatchewan.

The Ninety and Nine, was written by Elizabeth Cecelia Douglas Clephane, of Scotland (1830-1869), about her wayward brother, “the sheep that was lost,” who resided in Fergus, Ontario.

Work, for the Night Is Coming, was written by Anna Louisa Walker Coghill (1836-1907), who lived for a time in Sarnia, Ontario.

Gentle Mary Laid Her Child, is a Christmas carol written by Joseph Simpson Cook (1859-1933). He was educated at McGill University in Montreal, and served with the Methodists and the United Church of Canada.

God Who Touchest Earth with Beauty, was written for campers by Mary Susanne Edgar (1889-1973) of Ontario, who worked with the Y.W.C.A. in its early years and established a camp for girls in Ontario.

My Jesus, I Love Thee, by William Ralph Featherstone (1846-1873), of Montreal, was likely written when he was converted at the age of 16.

Breathe on Me, Breath of God, was written by Edwin Hatch (1835-1889), an Englishman who served for a time as professor of classics at Trinity College, in Toronto.

All Your Anxiety, was written by Edward Henry Joy (1871-1949), who was for years a Salvation Army Officer in Winnipeg.

God Will Take Care of You; and His Eye Is on the Sparrow, were written by Civilla Durfee Martin (1866-1948), born in Nova Scotia.

Jesus, Wondrous Saviour, by Canadian Daniel Arthur McGregor (1847-1890), was the great theme hymn of McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, in its more evangelical days.

Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary; and Why Did They Nail Him to Calvary’s Tree? are by John M. Moore (1925- ), who served as a pastor in Toronto.

Is It the Crowning Day? was written by Henry Ostrom (1862-1941), a pastor and evangelist, born in Ontario.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus, was written by Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1819-1886), of Port Hope, Ontario.

The Wonder of It All; and the music for I’d Rather Have Jesus are by famed gospel singer George Beverly Shea (1909- ), born in Winchester, Ontario.

Deeper and Deeper; God Is Waiting in the Silence; God Understands; Joy in Service Jesus; Saved! and The Saviour Can Solve Every Problem; as well as The Song of the Soul Set Free; and Then Jesus Came were written by Oswald Jeffrey Smith (1889-1986), a Toronto pastor who wrote something like 1,200 hymns. He likely ranks as the most prolific author of Canadian hymns.

What, Never Thirst Again? (also called simply Never Thirst Again) was written by Salvation Army officer, May Agnew Stephens (1865-1935), born in Kingston, Ontario.

O Canada, Canada’s National Anthem, was written by Justice Robert Stanley Weir (1856-1926), of Hamilton, Ontario. Though not strictly a hymn, it voices a prayer, in the refrain and in the last stanza, for God’s protection and care.


  1. […] back tomorrow, for new Reflections on a hymn. Meantime, I invite you to read the Topical Article Canadian Hymns. There are quite a few of our hymns that have either Canadian authorship, or a Canadian connection. […]

  2. […] For information on more than two dozen hymns with a Canadian connection, check out my article on Canadian Hymns. (Some of them may surprise you!) Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]


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