Antoine Gérin-Lajoie

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 treasure. (…) It is the most recognized of our popular songs.

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 carried."

(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.

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