The song, the author of which is unknown, is about Scottish immigrants going to Nova Scotia. It ends that if the singer had a boat, "My children wouldn't be eating gruel/And I wouldn't be oppressed by this miserable land," the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.
"It's kind of a desperate song; in some ways it's a lament. It talks about the pain they felt leaving Scotland and coming to start in a new place," said singer Mary Jane Lamond, who performed the song for the TV ad. "It does seem ironic, but it is appropriate because it is a song composed in Nova Scotia."
Tourism officials said they did extensive focus-group testing before choosing the song they hope will help lure tourists to Nova Scotia.