First staged in 1979, the military tattoo in Halifax was renamed the Nova Scotia International Tattoo in 1984. In 2006, on the occasion of her 80th birthday, the Queen Mother, who had opened the original show, changed the name again to the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.
The Tattoo features over 2 000 international military and civilian performers from Belgium, America, Britain, Estonia, Germany, France, Holland, and of course Canada. It is also watched annually by roughly 60 000 people, and because of this it is billed as "the largest indoor show in the world", and "Canada's best kept secret". While I haven't fact checked those claims, what is not debatable is the fact that the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is easily the most entertaining 3.5 hour spectacle I have ever seen. It was worth every penny of the $45 I spent to attend, and I would do it again in a heart beat next year, and every year after that I live in Halifax. Take a look at some of the videos below to get just a taste of what I experienced for the entire evening, and then book your flights to Halifax next year for the 2011 Tattoo.
(Since this is a military tattoo, let's start with the most precise drill team in the world - the German Drill Team of the 6th Company.)
(The Juliana Bicycle Team from Holland. Do I really need to tell you that they're amazing? Just watch the video.)
(My favourite group of the whole Tattoo, back by popular demand, The Flying Grandpas of Hamburg, Germany, attempt to perform a carefully choreographed trampoline routine. They need a bit more work.)
(The Flying Grandpas get better.)
(Third time's the charm for The Flying Grandpas.)
(The Paris Police gymnastics team from France show us how it's done...)
(...And then they blow our minds.)
(The most moving rendition of O Canada ever performed. Are you feeling proud to be Canadian yet?)
(The final exit after the Grand Finale. I feel like standing up and cheering again, even when I watch this at home.)
After the show, I was able to get some pictures taken with the stars on the floor. The performers were more gracious than you can possibly imagine, especially when you consider they had just been marching/jumping/cycling around for 3.5 hours, and it was then nearly midnight. I'd like to thank them all again for taking the time to talk with me and pose for my pictures.
(An important looking member of the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.)
(Posing with a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in his ceremonial dress uniform. I think you could fit two of me inside his massive barrel chest, yet there still was not room to contain the friendliness that exploded from every pore of his body whenever he greeted a new fan.)
(These members of the German Drill Team of the 6th Company stood like this for a good half-hour after the show. They are never caught out of position... ever.)
(A member of the world renowned Juliana Bicycle Team from Holland and the world's smallest bicycle.)