Defence Minister Peter MacKay was in Halifax Thursday to announce almost half a million dollars in funding for the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.

As part of the Marquee Tourism Events Program, the federal government will provide $473,082 in funding for the Tattoo. MacKay said the funding is “great news for the province of Nova Scotia.”

“Now in its 31st year, the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is world-class event, featuring performers from around the globe, which attracts repeat visitors and new fans every year,” said MacKay.

Industry Minister Tony Clement already announced the funding on May 7, in a press conference in Ottawa.

According to Tattoo co-ordinators, the money will be spent on stepping up its marketing, both domestic and abroad.

MacKay noted that the funding was in addition to the “roughly $700,000” in funding from the Department of National Defence.

He said the Tattoo is another event promoting Canada on the international stage, citing the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the Formula-1 in Montreal, and the G8 and G20 meetings taking place in Toronto this weekend.

This year’s tattoo, taking place from July 1 to 8, will feature over 2,000 military and civilian performers from eight countries, including Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The Tattoo came under criticism after a disagreement with Queen Elizabeth II’s handlers in March resulted in her abstaining from the event.

Tattoo artistic director Ian Fraser said he thinks its unfortunate that the Queen will not be in attendance.

“(It) is a very unfortunate thing, because we were very disappointed,” he said.

But Fraser said a late addition to the Tattoo’s cast may alleviate the disappointment of the Queen’s absence, bringing out an Elvis impersonator to play for gathered media and Tattoo participants.

“We may not have the Queen, but we have the King,” he said.

Latest From ...