Canada is 150 years old in 2017.
In 1967, the Canadian Armed Forces to contribute to Canada's 100th Birthday, put together a military tattoo covering 300 years of Canadian military history.
Tattoo 1967 met with unprecedented success as it toured Canada from coast to coast performing in over 40 cities and 157 performances to sell out audiences whether it was Brandon, Manitoba, Victoria, British Columbia, London, Ontario or Cornerbrook, Newfoundland. Standing ovations were common.
I think it would be fantastic for Canada's Armed Forces to once again thrill Canadians from coast to coast with Tattoo 2017 to celebrate our 150th Birthday.
Most Canadians don't see our military except perhaps on the evening news or know much about Canada's military history.
Tattoo 1967 was designed to do just that and at the same time built a sense of pride in our armed forces and our nation.
I can remember standing at attention at the end of Tattoo 1967 hearing the audience spontanously singing O' Canada and feeling a shiver of pride ripple through my body.
To get a feeling of the effect Tattoo 1967 had on Canadian back in 1967, once must read the newspaper clippings on this page to get a sense of that.
Tattoo 1967 wasn't just another military tattoo with bands marching up and down, it was a lot more than that.
It was Canada parading before your eyes. It was our national history coming alive right in front of you. It was all Canadian, about Canadians, with an all Canadian cast plus produced by Canadians.
Perhaps McKenzie Porter from the Toronto Telegram said it best:
"The Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo is a tour de force. Round up your grandchildren or your grandparents, or whoever is dear to you, and take them to see the stuff of which this noble country is made."
Or perhaps John Lindblad from the Windsor Star when he reported,
"An evening with Canada had passed on something electric. And something wonderful. It was as if all of a sudden Canadians had lost their self-depreciating, their quibbles with Confederation, their ethnic hyphenation, their inferiority complex. And in their country's 100th year had found what was here all the time, but had escaped their view - a nation, God love it, called Canada."
2017 is upon us and the Federal Government has no plans to put on another Tattoo this year.
Unfortunately, a golden opportunity has been missed to inspire Canadians about Canada.
Here's a copy of the letters I wrote to the Government and their response;
Here are some of the questions I posed for Tatoo 2017 which now are redundent given that a Tattoo this year is not happening. (questions in random order)
- Where are all those costumes and uniforms used during Tattoo 1967? Can they be used again for 2017.
Note: Costumes and uniforms for Tattoo 1967 were sold off or donated to museums.
- The planning documents for Tattoo 1967 still exist including the scripts for the train and stadium shows.
- Could the same scenes be used again in 2017 instead of creating an all new show from scratch saving time and money?
- Is there a location in Canada for rehearsals? The Picton, Ontario site for rehearsals in 1967 in now in private hands.
- Is it possible to have a train show as in 1967 and a stadium show as well?
- Each train consisted of about 30 cars including 6 TOFC cars (trailer on flat car) at the time, the longest passenger train ever.
- The trailers (piggy backs) were used to transport all the equipment from the rail site to the arena location.
- In 1967 there were 18 regular service bands but only 6 now; will there be enough military musicians by 2017?
- Based on the 1967 model, the number of musician needed for one train show - fanfares 8, massed bands 63, pit band 25, total 96. Double this if two train shows are used.
- Based on the 1967 model, the number of musicians needed for a stadium show - fanfares 28, massed bands 200, pit band 25, total 253.
- 6 service bands have approximately 35 to 40 personnel totalling 240 musicians.
- Evan back in 1967, there were not enough full time regular service pipes and drums so reserve band were called out for duty in Tattoo 1967.
- The rail cars used for the train show in 1967 were old then; what will be available in 2017?
- Canada's population in 1967 was 20.5 million. In 2017 it's likely going to be about 36 million. That means 16 million Canadians have never seen the content of Tattoo 1967.
- Many of those who saw Tattoo 1967 are no longer with us. If they were 45 in 1967, they will be 95 in 2017. The point here is there are more than 16 million who haven't seen the "show".
- Based on the foregoing, it is likely there will be more Canadians in 2017 who haven't seen the "show" as there in 1967.
- Even if you saw the Tattoo in 1967 and the exact same tattoo was presented in 2017, it would likely be thrilling to see it again.
These are only a few of the questions but there are probably a lot more that need to be considered so keep tuned. . .