The History of the
Royal Nova Scotia
The Tattoo is presented annually by the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Society in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Province of Nova Scotia, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Halifax and the Corporate Community.
In 17th century Dutch villages, drummers marched through the streets summoning British soldiers to return to their quarters from the taverns and inns. A drumbeat signalling innkeepers to "doe den tap toe" or "turn off the taps" was shortened to "tattoo." The phrase now heralds the amazing entertainment highlighted by marching bands, hundreds of musicians, acrobats, dancers and military competitions. The unique and varied talent of hundreds of Canadian and international military and civilian performers makes the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo the world's largest annual indoor show.
The Nova Scotia Tattoo was first held in 1979 to mark the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother to Nova Scotia for the International Gathering of the Clans. It has been held every year since and was granted Royal Status by Her Majesty The Queen in 2006 on the occasion of her 80th Birthday.