This song is a lumberjack song from the mid-1850s when workers from Maine would go to Canada to work in winter camps. It is thought this song was adapted from an older English song called Canada-I-O. (source)


(Folk song)

1. Come all ye jolly fellows, how would you like to go
And spend one winter in the woods of Canaday-I-O?
“We’re going up to Canaday,” is what we young men say,
“And going up to Canaday depends upon the pay.”

2. “It’s sure we’ll pay good wages, we’ll pay your passage out,
But you must sign the papers that you will stay the route,
For if you should get homesick and say back home you’ll go,
We will not pay your passage from Canaday-I-O.”

3. We had a pleasant journey on the route we had to go
And landed in Three Rivers in Canaday-I-O
Oh then the Norcross agent, he came a-prowling round
And said, “My jolly fellows, why don’t you all lie down?”

4. Our hearts were made of iron, our souls were cased with steel,
The hardships of that winter could never make us yield.
Our food the dogs would bark at, our beds were on the snow,
We suffered worse than poison in Canaday-I-O.

5. And now the winter’s over, it’s homeward we are bound,
And in this cursed country we’ll never more be found.
Go back to your wives and sweethearts, tell others not to go
To that God-forsaken country called Canaday-I-O.

See also

  • Subjects: ballads /  lumbering
  • Meter: 6/8
  • Scale: Dorian
  • Source: Songs of Work and Protest, Edith Fowke, Joe Glazer, Kenneth Ira Bray, 1973, pp. 118-9.


  • Song with chords (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the song

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