The Nova Scotia tree donated to Boston annually, will take centre stage tonight, Dec. 4, lighting up Boston Common as the tradition of giving celebrates 43 years.
The gift of a majestic Christmas tree is a thank you for the support and aid Boston provided after the Halifax Explosion on Dec. 6, 1917. Two thousand people lost their lives. Thousands more were injured and many left homeless.
“Nova Scotians are proud of this tradition and forever thankful for the kindness shown to us by the people of Boston,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This has become a great holiday tradition, capturing the spirit of friendship and kindness between Nova Scotia and Boston.”
The 13-metre white spruce was graciously donated by John and Ethel Ann MacPherson of Purlbrook, Antigonish Co. They’ll be in the audience when their tree is lit with 6,000 lights.
“We are very excited to be a part of this wonderful gift-giving tradition,” said Mr. MacPherson. “This tree has given us many memories and to create one more with thousands of Bostonians will be something we will never forget.”
The tree arrived on Boston Common Friday, Nov. 21, and has since been decorated with thousands of LED lights.
“This annual tradition is more than just a gift, it is a symbol of the strong friendship between Nova Scotia and Boston,” said Martin Walsh, Mayor of Boston.
“And that is why I’m proud to announce that in honour of our Nova Scotian friends, today, Dec. 4 will be proclaimed Nova Scotia Day.”
The Nova Scotia Day proclamation was made at a media event in Nova Scotia House, at the Omni Parker House Hotel in downtown Boston. Nova Scotia House is providing Bostonians with information about Nova Scotia as a destination for travel, education, immigration and business.
Premier McNeil also visited Mather Elementary School in Dorchester this morning. Mather partnered with St.Stephen Elementary in Halifax to learn more about the annual gift giving tradition and the strong connection between Boston and Nova Scotia. Today, both classes spoke with the Premier.
The tree lighting program called Holiday Lights, will take place at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. in Boston) and will be televised to an estimated audience of 300,000 on WCVB Boston Channel 5, an ABC affiliate available in Atlantic Canada on cable.
Musically, The Stanfields will be representing Nova Scotia on the broadcast in front of a live audience of an estimated 20,000.
“We’re honoured to be a part of this annual holiday tradition,” said Jon Landry of the Stanfields. “Performing at tonight’s ceremony in front of our American friends will be a career highlight.”
Nova Scotians are encouraged to follow the ceremonies from home on social media at www.facebook.com/treeforboston or on Twitter @TreeforBoston.