Organization: Centennial Commission
More than three hundred years of Canada’s Armed Forces history will be portrayed in the Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo, one of the largest spectacles of this kind ever presented in North America.
What is a tattoo?
In Holland at the close of the 17th century, the social centers for the troops were the inns and taverns. One method to induce the soldiers to return to their billets was to have the innkeeper turn off the beer taps. A drummer was sent marching through the streets beating a warning ‘call’. The Dutch expression for this ‘call’ was “doe den tap toe” which freely translated into English is “shut off the taps”. Shortened to “Taptoe'” it became “Tattoo” through usage. As time passed, musicians joined the drummer, leading eventually to bands playing concerts for the entertainment of the garrisons.
Later “Tattoos” were performed for royalty and the general public. Through period drill, music, pageantry, fantasy, sweeping spotlights, colorful and authentic uniforms and weapons featured in this production, the audience will see a history book unfold before its eyes-from the arrival of the French Regiments in Canada through the British period and other episodes of Cana- dian military history, to the capabilities of Canada’s integrated mobile force of today, dedicated to the preservation of peace in the world.
Le régiment de Carignan-Salières – 1665
This famous regiment was dispatched to Canada (then called New France) by King Louis XIV and dis- embarked from its small sailing vessels on eastern shores in the spring of 1665. Historically it was an important event. Until then, the colonists had been obliged to provide their own defence and the French regiment was the first military protection they enjoyed.
The 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot – 1782
The first battalion of this British regiment arrived in New York in 1756. After serving in numerous campaigns and engagements in North America, the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot garrisoned in Nova Scotia. It is from this famous regiment that the Black Watch (Royal Highland) Regiment of Canada derives its name and much of its colorful dress and traditions.
The Royal Navy – War of 1812
Ships of the Royal Navy sailed the coastal and inland waters of Canada to provide offshore defence against her enemies. Many of the standards and traditions set by this force over 250 years ago have been continued in today’s Royal Canadian Navy which was formed in 1910. The RCN has achieved high renown as a modern naval service and continues to play a vital role as a member of Canada’s Armed Forces.
The Canadian Army-South African war, 1899-1900
Drawing on an illustrious heritage, Canada’s participation in the South African War established a pattern that was to be followed in the two World Wars in the twentieth century. Fighting heroically as distinctive Canadian units, officers and men of this force brought distinction to Canada as a nation. This was Canada’s first military force to serve overseas.
The Royal Canadian Air Force – World War II, 1939-1945
The RCAF was created in 1924 as a distinct entity in the armed services. Following Canada’s declaration of war on September 10th, 1939, members of her armed forces began arriving overseas later that same year. The RCAF was eventually expanded to become the fourth largest air force of the Allied Powers and, with sister services, fought in many parts of the world.
The Canadian Armed Forces – 1966
Today, Canada’s armed forces are a truly unified body exemplified by the needs of a fast-changing world. This command-never before so well equipped and highly mobile provides Canada and the United Nations with a flexible, efficient force ready to move anywhere in the world for the preservation of peace. It has won respect for Canada wherever it has served.
The physical version of this product is part of the federal identity archive.