Hundreds gathered in Halifax’s Grand Parade for a send-off of the Nova Scotia Tree for Boston, today, Nov. 16.
Each year, Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to the people of Boston to say thank you for their help in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion in 1917.
This year’s tree is a 47-foot (14 metre) white spruce from Crown land along Route 395 in Ainslie Glen, Inverness County, close to the Waycobah First Nation.
“Each year we remember the tragedy that struck our province almost 100 years ago, and the immediate help and relief provided by the people of Boston,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “The Christmas tree is a symbol of our gratitude. We will never forget the kindness Bostonians showed us in a time of need.”
The tree made its way through Halifax today via Halifax Police escort and stopped at St. Stephen’s Elementary School, which became pen pals with Mather Elementary school in Boston to learn more about the annual tree tradition.
Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook came to Halifax to take in the event for the first time, which this year featured musical performances by Nova Scotia band the Town Heroes and the First Nations We’koqma’qewiskwa Drummers.
“We are pleased to be representing the people of Boston as the tree departs while experiencing firsthand the warmth of our friends in Nova Scotia, the beauty of their province and the culture of the Waycobah First Nations people,” said Mr. Cook. “We have met Nova Scotians of all ages who have welcomed us and expressed their appreciation for what Bostonians did in 1917, as well as the bond that has grown between us ever since.”
The tree is now on its way to Boston on a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal flatbed truck. It will stop in Amherst for a public viewing and photo opportunity at 4 p.m. It will arrive at Boston Common on Friday, Nov. 18, under police escort, and will be decorated with thousands of LED lights.
The tree-lighting ceremony on Boston Common, Thursday, Dec. 1, will feature a live musical performance by the Town Heroes. The ceremony attracts about 20,000 people and is broadcast live on WCBV television, an ABC affiliate, to an audience of about 300,000.