A woman in a long red dress and tall red and white Canada hat with stickers shining in the sun blew on a whistle and waved to the bands, military groups and dancers marching in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo parade as music filled the air on Brunswick Street.
Helen Hartley, decked out in red and white, was among hundreds who lined the parade route in downtown Halifax for Canada Day or sat on Citadel Hill to get a good view on Tuesday.
“Anytime there’s a band, I’m there. It’s a wonder I wasn’t out in the middle marching along,” Hartley said with a laugh.
Myllssa Landry, 25, who wore a red and white headband with antennae as she walked amidst huge crowds on the Halifax waterfront, said she loves Canada Day because the atmosphere “is just so much fun.”
“You see the flags everywhere … all the random things people put on, even just to wear red and white it’s really cool to see that,” she said.
Jason Hubbard, a 34-year-old Department of National Defence employee, said he’s been dressing all in red with a Canadian flag as a cape and huge hat as “Captain Canada” for 12 years, usually handing out flags to kids enjoying the day.
He said it started in 2002 when he went downtown in full costume, but the bar wasn’t open yet so he joined people giving out flags on the waterfront “and it just kind of evolved from there.”
After Hubbard lived in Cairo during the early 1990s where he saw the Gulf War and “real poverty,” he said his whole perspective changed when he came home.
“I’m just naturally proud of being a Canadian, so this is my way of kind of giving back and encouraging people to get crazy and have fun on Canada Day,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard said there’s “so much freedom we don’t realize” compared to some countries, where there is no work whatsoever or a woman could be arrested for showing her shoulder.
“In the balance of things, the freedoms we do have compared to the few restrictions we have, Canada’s a place like nowhere else,” he said.