Definitions

silver birch

paper birch

Ornamental, shade, and timber tree (Betula papyrifera) of the birch family, native to northern and central North America. Also called canoe birch, silver birch, or white birch, it is one of the best-known birches. The smooth, varicolored or white bark of young trees peels horizontally in thin sheets, which once were used as writing surfaces as well as for roofing, canoes, and shoes. The water-impervious bark, which burns even when wet, is a boon to campers and hikers.

Learn more about paper birch with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Land of the Silver Birch is a traditional Canadian folk song set to the words of a poem by the 19th Century Six Nations poet E. Pauline Johnson. It is sometimes sung to keep time while canoeing, and sometimes sung at campfires in a round.

Like most traditional songs the lyrics vary slightly. The following are representative:

Land of the silver birch,
Home of the beaver
Where still the mighty moose
Wanders at will

Refrain:
Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more
Boom de de boom boom, Boom de de boom boom, Boom de de boom boom, bo-oo-oom

My heart is sick for thee,
Here in the lowlands,
I will return to thee,
Hills of the north

Refrain

high on a rocky ledge ,
I'll build my wigwam
Close to the water's edge,
Silent and still

Refrain

It is related to a similar song "My Paddle's Keen and Bright".

In 2005, The song was partly re-written by Canadian folk singer Dickson Reid and released on his debut album, "Sugar in the Snow."

Alternate lyrics

The lyrics of this song can be quite different depending on who you talk to and what region of Canada they are from.

Land of the silver birch,
Home of the beaver
Where still the mighty moose
Wanders at will

Refrain:
Blue lake and rocky shore,
I will return once more
Boom de de boom boom, Boom de de boom boom, Boom de de boom boom, ehaaa

High on a rocky ledge
I'll build my wigwam
Close to the water's edge
Silent and still.

Refrain

My heart grows sick for thee
Here in the low lands
I will return to thee hills of the north

Refrain

I have also heard it mixed up with another short song that is also used to keep time while paddling a canoe

My paddle's keen and bright
Flashing with silver
Follow the wild goose flight
Dip, dip and swing
Dip, dip and swing her back
Flashing with silver
Swift as the wild goose flies
Dip, dip and swing

Silver Birch in the Scouts and Guiding Movement

Since the 1930's the song has been popular Scouts Canada and Girl Guides of Canada. Its origin is unclear. It is sung regularly at Canadian Scout and Girl Guide Camps. Doe Lake camp, has a campfire everweek, in which the song is sung as follows;

land of the silver birch home of the beaver where still the mighty moose wanders at will Blue lake and rocky shore, I will return once more.

Boom-diddy-ah-da, boom-diddy-ah-da, Boom-diddy-ah-da, bo-oo-oom

High on a rocky ledge I'll build my wigwam, Close by the water's edge, silent and still; Blue lake and rocky shore, I will return once more.

Boom-diddy-ah-da, boom-diddy-ah-da, Boom-diddy-ah-da, bo-oo-oom

My heart grows sick for thee here in the lowlands My heart cries out for thee, hills of the north; Blue lake and rocky shore, I will return once more.

Boom-diddy-ah-da, boom-diddy-ah-da, Boom-diddy-ah-da, bo-oo-oom

Land of the silver birch, home of the beaver, Where still the mighty moose wanders at will; Blue lake and rocky shore, I will return once more.

Boom-diddy-ah-da, boom-diddy-ah-da, Boom-diddy-ah-da, bo-oo-oom

External links

Sang as an introduction to the 2002 Sarendipity film Men With Brooms

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