For the first time in the history of the tradition, the Nova Scotia Christmas tree for Boston is coming from the northern half of the province.
John and Ethel Ann MacPherson of Purlbrook, Antigonish Co., are donating this year’s evergreen gift, an annual thank you to the city of Boston for help provided after the 1917 Halifax explosion.
“We are very happy this year’s Boston tree is coming from Antigonish County and from our own backyard,” said Mr. MacPherson. “It’s great to think our tree will represent all of Nova Scotia.”
Since the tradition began in 1971, the tree for Boston has been selected from counties in the bottom half of the province. This year, the Antigonish County tree was the best one found, with a good size and shape, and easy access.
The 13-metre (43-foot) white spruce is about 55 years old and will be the 43rd tree sent to Boston since the annual tradition began.
“I want to thank the MacPhersons for helping Nova Scotia continue this annual thank you to the people of Boston,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Natural Resources.
The Halifax explosion claimed about 2,000 lives and left hundreds injured and homeless. Boston was quick to provide medical personnel and supplies.
“Our city is grateful to the MacPherson family of Nova Scotia for generously donating this year’s tree to be Boston’s official Christmas tree,” said Martin Walsh, Mayor of Boston. “This tree will stand on Boston Common to heighten the holiday spirit for everyone.”
Staff and students from the environmental technologies program at the Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Campus will cut the tree on the MacPhersons’ property during a public ceremony Monday, Nov. 17, at 10:30 a.m. The province will transport the tree 1,117 kilometres to Boston.
The tree-cutting ceremony will include representatives from the province, the United States Consulate in Halifax, the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, hundreds of local school children, a town crier, RCMP and Nova Scotia conservation officers, an Antigonish bagpiper and a visit from Santa.
After the ceremony, the tree will travel to Halifax for a public send-off ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 18, in Grand Parade at 11:30 a.m. Nova Scotians are welcome to attend the Halifax ceremony to enjoy a live musical performance by The Stanfields and sign a thank you book for Boston.
The tree lighting will take place on the Boston Common, Dec. 4, at a ceremony that attracts about 20,000 people and is broadcast live on the ABC Boston television channel.
The province encourages Nova Scotians to help search for the perfect Nova Scotia tree for Boston, for future years. Anyone knowing of a white or red spruce or balsam fir that is 12 to 15 metres high (40-50 feet), with good symmetry, and easy road access, should contact their local Natural Resources office at www.novascotia.ca/natr/staffdir/offices.asp .
Details on this year’s tree-cutting ceremony are at http://novascotia.ca/treeforboston and people can follow the tree’s travels on Twitter through @TreeforBoston and like the tree on Facebook at www.facebook.com/treeforboston .