Hazy Days of Summer

Union Jack Tent from Decathlon by Quecha

Union Jack Tent from Decathlon by Quecha (Photo credit: dullhunk)

The words “a white tent pitched by a glassy lake, well under a shady tree”…. were haunting me recently, so I Googled them and found the rest of the words to the song. It brings me back to the days when I attended a one room school (when the dinosaurs were still roaming the earth, according to my youngest son), and part of our day included not only readin’, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic , but singing.

In the morning we sang God Save the Queen (in the years before O Canada replaced it) facing the Canadian version of the Union Jack (before 1965 when our maple leafed flag was born)  then recited the Lord’s prayer (when this was still allowed in public school).  At the end of the day we sang songs for fun before we were out the door and on our way home. I remember one of our favourites was Puff the Magic Dragon as well as the aforementioned  song that would not leave me in peace until I found all the words to it.

The enigmatic song that was playing an endless loop in my head is called  “A Canadian Camping Song”, and in my cursory search I found that it seemed to be part of the government of the day’s approved curriculum. While my research was only glancing, I could not come up with a song writer.

The words to the song evoke June days when exams were done and we were putting in time before the summer holidays. So for those of you curious about the words to the rest of the song, here they are:

A Canadian Camping Song

A white tent pitched by a glassy lake,

Well under a shady tree.

Or by rippling rills from the grand old hills

Is the summer home for me.

I fear no blaze of the noontide rays,

For the woodland glades are mine,

The fragrant air, and that perfume rare,

The odour of forest pine.


The wild woods, the wild woods

The wild woods give me;

The wild woods of Canada.

The boundless and free.

The song epitomizes summer for me—and in this, our first real week of official summer, it reminds me of the last days of June, sitting at my desk, just waiting for the summer holidays to begin. The days of summer stretched out seemingly forever—full of baseball in the back yard, chores around the house, riding my bike, reading in my favourite tree, and walking with my sister to the local corner store for a pop and chocolate bar.

If anyone knows who wrote this little ditty, let me know.

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great lyrics, but I don’t recognize it. It sounds a bit like a Robert Service poem, doesn’t it?

    I have great memories of camping by a glassy lake. My summer holidays start in a week, and I can’t wait to get to the cottage.

  2. good guess – we will have to wait and see if you are right
    happy cottaging in a week – my sister has a cottage–and though it is hers, I call it the family cottage and she lets me

  3. I remember the chorus to the song but I can’t remember the melody….next phone call, you’ll have to sing it to me. Great memories Lou!

  4. Ha ha, not true.

  5. nice to see the camping song 🙂

  6. Don’t recognize the lyrics at all. Lovely blog though.

  7. I grew up for 12 years in Canada and I never heard that song (in the 1970s this was) but I do like the words. They’re love and really represent what Canada is for me. I remember at school always singing O Canada at the start of assemblies. We never did The Lord’s Prayer.

    We still have 3.5 weeks of school left here in the UK and are going camping but to France in a mobile home! So slightly different I guess from the sentiments of the song. 🙂

    • although the song is lovely – anything where you are not sleeping on the ground is good with me
      my remembrances are from the early sixties so it is not unusual that you do not have the same memories as I do

  8. http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=6084 Sir James David Edgar 1841-1899 was the author of Canadian Camping Song. I looked and looked and couldn’t find a site with the music – I’l like to hear how the tune goes. I listened to it being recited http://librivox.org/the-ontario-readers-third-book-by-the-ontario-ministry-of-education/ very nice

    • thank you – you are a great researcher – will have to add that info to the blog – the melody is rather lilting- I am so glad you found the song writer or perhaps poet – thanks for the link

  9. Ha! I just noticed this. You wrote about the Hazy Days of Summer, too.

    • good title isn’t it? great minds think alike–we are going to disregard the rest of that saying

  10. I learned this song in the 50’s in a one room school as well. there are at least two more verses. 2 A cooling plunge at the break of day, a paddle a row or a sail. With always a fish for a mid-day dish and plenty of Adams ale. 3 When darkness falls on the canvas walls we kindle the campfires blase. From out of the gloom sails the silvery moon — the remainder has eluded me for 50 years.

  11. It was sang to tune of ” It came upon a midnight clear”

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