Sarnia composer, CBC Radio host celebrate Canada 150 in rare sing-along

Ernestine Perkins, who plays music by ear, copyrighted her song "It's Canada" in 2007 and then filed it away and nearly forgot about it.

Peter Duck lends a helping voice to prompt live on-air performance

CBC Radio host Peter Duck and Sarnia composer Ernestine Perkins sang a few lines of her song, "It's Canada" on Windsor Morning. (Jonathan Pinto/Ernestine Perkins)

Ten years after writing and composing a song about Canada, Ernestine Perkins has dusted off her nationalistic tune for country's 150th birthday. 

The 86-year-old Sarnia resident, who plays music by ear, copyrighted her work back in 2007 and then filed it away and nearly forgot about it. 

But after a few serendipitous encounters, her song "It's Canada" has already been performed by a choir and there are plans to have it staged again for the nation's birthday.

The London Singers perform "It's Canada!"

6 years ago
Duration 5:19
The London Singers - a community choir based in London, Ont., - perform "It's Canada!", a song penned by 86-year old Ernestine Perkins of Sarnia, Ont.

"Coming from Jamaica, I think Canada really is the best country in the whole world — let's face it," Perkins said. "There are so many opportunities here." 

After getting her stepson Jim to transcribe the song into written music, Perkins took the work to a music store in London for printing.

Music teacher and London Singers conductor David Weaver. (The London Singers)

At the store, an employee commented that the song would be perfect for Canada 150. He suggested she contact David Weaver, who is a music teacher and the conductor of The London Singers community choir. 

Weaver,  a Windsor native who teaches at H.B. Beal Secondary School in London, heard Perkins perform the song and realized it would be a good fit for a Canada 150 concert the choir planned for June 10th.

"It was awesome," Perkins said when asked how she felt seeing her song performed for the first time. "Honest to goodness, I was so humbled really ... they have such lovely voices."

The London Singers choir is set to perform "It's Canada!" again when they head to Ottawa on Thursday.

"Maybe you can sing it?"

The song was too catchy for Windsor Morning host Peter Duck, who broke out in a sing-along with Perkins during their on-air interview Tuesday.

You can hear the entire charming interview here.

Lyrics for Ernestine Perkin's "It's Canada!" (Ernestine Perkins)