Nova Scotia’s Christmas Tree for Boston started its journey from Mill Cove, Lunenburg Co., today, Nov. 12, with a planned stopover at Halifax City Hall for a final public send-off, Wednesday morning.
“The Halifax Explosion was a dark time in our province’s history, but the people of Boston were there for us, providing much needed support and aid,” said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. “This beautiful Nova Scotia Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol of our continued gratitude.
“Thank you to the Milligan family for making such a gracious donation.”
Mary Lou Milligan donated this year’s tree from her property in Mill Cove.
Neighbours, community members, hundreds of young students and a representative from the U.S. Consulate watched as the 15-metre white spruce was cut and lowered to a flatbed truck.
Ms. Milligan will travel to Boston with her daughter and two grandsons for the Tree Lighting ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 5.
“I can’t wait to see our tree light up the Boston Common,” said Ms. Milligan. “We’re so excited to be a part of this special tradition.”
This is the 42nd year of the Boston tree tradition, in thanks for the medical personnel and supplies Bostonians provided after the explosion of Dec. 6, 1917.
“The Nova Scotia Christmas tree is a wonderful tradition that perfectly illustrates the strong ties between my two homes — Boston and Halifax,” said Scott Whitmore, Consul from the U.S. Consolate General office in Halifax. “I am honoured to be part of this year’s festivities and hope to see the tree in Boston when I go home for the holidays, just as I did with my family last year.”
The special tree-lighting ceremony in Boston will be televised before a crowd of about 30,000 to a TV audience of about 300,000.
“We are very grateful to the Milligan family for generously donating this year’s tree, which is Boston’s official Christmas tree,” said Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston. “The beautiful evergreen will brighten the holidays for the public on Boston Common, and we are pleased that the rich gift-giving tradition continues with our friends in Nova Scotia.”
“On behalf of Nova Scotians, I’m very proud that we can share this tradition with our friends in Boston and look forward to this year’s ceremonies,” said Andrew Younger, Minister responsible for Communications Nova Scotia.
Wednesday’s Grand Parade sendoff celebration in Halifax will begin at 11:30 a.m.
The tree will travel down the Bedford Highway to Halifax’s St. Stephen’s Elementary School, at 3669 Highland Ave., for a 30 minute outdoor student rally at 10 a.m., then travel down Novalea to Devonshire, past the Memorial Bell Tower, to Gottingen, down Russell, onto Barrington, to Halifax’s Grand Parade.
The Tree for Boston is transported by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal via the Digby ferry, across the Bay of Fundy to Saint John, N.B., then down through Maine and on to Massachusetts. It will arrive at Boston Common under police escort and be erected and decorated with hundreds of LED lights.
The ceremony will feature two live performances by the Nova Scotian percussion ensemble Squid, and remarks by Mayor Menino and Mr. Younger.