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Tattoo for Canada Day

We went out Friday night to the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. It's billed as "the world's largest annual indoor show." Some two-thousand performers put on a big show at the Halifax Metro Centre. We've been hearing them practice for the past two weeks -- waking up in the morning to the sound of bagpipes and brass bands and flocks of mounties and armed forces folk below our window. So, we got good seats to the preview performance, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Lots of marching, piping, drumming, tootling, plus a generous dose of acrobatics and singing. Quite a spectacle. If we'd seen a news report of some renegade nation doing exactly the same parading around with guns, we'd probably think they were a scary militaristic society. Strange how the same thing here meets with applause. Good show, good show.

Saturday brought a warm and sunny break in a seemingly endless streak of grey, drizzly, foggy weather. After being startled by the 21-gun salute on Victoria Day, we went to Citadel Hill to see the Canada Day salute first-hand. Video is found above. We got a little sunburnt afterward, waiting for, then watching, the Tattoo parade, featuring a few of the acts in the big show.

The evening promised the "biggest July 1 fireworks display in 10 years" over the Halifax harbour. Last year's show was cancelled due to fog, so they put the money into this year's display. We found our way to the top floor of a parking complex and had a great view. The fireworks only lasted about 15 minutes! I guess I've been spoiled by seeing so many spectacular shows at Ontario Place over the years. Utter disappointment when the batteries on my camera failed. There are other photos from the show on flickr. Lots of people took pictures -- I could tell, from the dozens of camera flashes going off on the Dartmouth side. (Do people think using a flash will make the high-in-the-sky fireworks look better?)

It's neat to see how many people are using flickr these days. A search for "halifax canada day" turned up my shots, of course, but also pictures from a guy in the same apartment building, on the other side of the hallway in the penthouse. And we nearly saw ourselves in another two pictures: a cluster of mounties parading across a crosswalk on Brunswick Street, and we know for sure that we were right behind them. I ought to hook up with the Halifax photo pool.

Sunday brought the first test of the government's tightened legislation on grocery store openings. Atlantic Superstores (essentially huge Loblaws stores for those in Ontario) decided to challenge the law by opening six outlets in the province. I could only find one in Halifax proper, so we went to do our weekly shopping.
Waste of time. Half the store was blocked off. The produce, deli, seafood, bakery, meat, drugstore and health-food sections were open, sure. But dairy, cereals, kitty litter, and pretty much everything in "the aisles" was blocked off. And the checkouts were blocked off, meaning just a few registers were open, with lineups stretching nearly to the back of the store, IN the couple of aisles that were open. So, we put back our quarter-cart of veggies and meat and left the crowded store. Nice of them to open, but a decidedly unsatisfactory shopping experience. 

If you're going to defy the government, go big, or we'll go home.


  1. Loved the pipe band. Brought a tear to my eye. My father always said the military fellows would rather march to a pipe band--a better more constant beat perhaps.


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