Lakes in Canadian Music

With the exception of the Great Lakes which border Ontario on the south, Canada's lakes no longer play a significant role in the country's development; rather they serve recreation, provide hydro-power, and are valued for their natural beauty.

Lakes

Lakes. With the exception of the Great Lakes which border Ontario on the south, Canada's lakes no longer play a significant role in the country's development; rather they serve recreation, provide hydro-power, and are valued for their natural beauty.

The Great Lakes, the world's largest chain of inland water bodies, have been the inspiration for several songs and instrumental works - more so than Canada's many other lakes. Probably the earliest of these is R.J. Fowler's The Lakes Quadrille (1848). Later 19th-century examples are Storm on the Lake, a souvenir of Toronto by William Horatio Clarke, The Blue Ontario Rockaway, by Carl Martens; and 'The Wreck of the Algoma,' by (?) Hughes. Folksongs include 'It's Me for the Inland Lakes' and 'On Gravely Bay,' collected by Edith Fowke and included in her book Folklore of Canada (Toronto 1976). The LP Songs of the Great Lakes (Folk FM-4018), comprises material, also collected by Fowke, largely about Great Lakes boats. Stan Rogers' LP From Fresh Water is another collection of Great Lakes Songs (Fogarty's Cove CHM-001). Among pop songs, Gordon Lightfoot's 'Christian Island' (Georgian Bay) and 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald' (Lake Superior) date from the 1970s. The best-known concert work on the subject is John Beckwith's The Great Lakes Suite (1949) to a text by James Reaney. An orchestral work is Lorne Betts' Kanadario (1966), its title the Iroquois word for Lake Ontario.

Musical items inspired by other lakes include the folksong 'The Lake of the Caogama' (Quebec); Angus MacPherson's song 'Lake Louise' (Armand-Grieg 1923) and Clifford Higgin's choral-orchestral piece Lake Minnewanka (1949), both evocations of lakes in Banff National Park; Paul Pratt's piano piece Sur le Lac Champlain; the French-Canadian folkdances Galop du Lac St-Charles (recorded by the fiddler Joe Bouchard), Clog du Lac St-Jean and Quadrille du Lac St-Jean (recorded by the accordionist Tommy Duchesne), La Grande Gigue simple du lac St-Jean (recorded by the fiddler Louis 'Pitou' Boudreault), and Reel de Moose Lake (recorded by the fiddler J.O. La Madeleine); and E.B. Sutton's 'Lovely Lake Muskoka' (Whaley Royce 1903), Bessie Maude Kerr's Lake of Bays Suite for voice, and Marcus Adeney's From the Lake of Bays for solo cello (1948), all referring to lakes in the Muskoka resort area of southern Ontario. Franco Mannino's Symphony No. 5 'Rideau Lake' was premiered by the NACO in 1986.

See also Disaster songs; Rivers.