Annual Nova Scotia Christmas tree hits the road for Boston
This year's tree is the first to come from Cape Breton
November 16, 2016, 5:58 pm ASTLast Updated: November 18, 2016, 7:07 pm
Fog and rain couldn’t dampen the Christmas spirit Wednesday afternoon when the annual Nova Scotia Tree for Boston left the Grand Parade in Halifax.
Hundreds of children and adults bundled up to come see the tree, an expression of gratitude to the people of Boston for their help following the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Boston was one of the first cities to respond with aid and medical relief.
Chris Cook, Boston Parks commissioner, came to Halifax for Wednesday’s sendoff.
“We could not be more grateful to have this reminder of how relationships between countries, between cities, should be, can be, and will be in the future,” he said to the crowd.
The first tree was sent as a thank you in 1918, a year after the explosion. The tradition began in 1971 when Lunenburg County Christmas Tree Producers Association sent another Christmas tree, and the Nova Scotia government has sent one every year since.
This year’s tree is the first to come from Cape Breton. It is a 47-metre white spruce from Route 395 in Ainslie Glen, Inverness County.
Tim Whynot, manager of stewardship and outreach with Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources, was one of three officials who selected the tree. Whynot was overwhelmed by the excitement at the cutting ceremony in Cape Breton on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was chaotic, crazy,” he said. “We had 500 or 600 people. We had planned for 100 cars for parking; we filled that and then they lined the roads for a quarter a mile in each direction.”
Since Ainslie Glen is close to the Waycobah First Nation, this year’s ceremonies in Cape Breton and Halifax also featured a performance by First Nations We’koqma’qewiskwa Drummers.
Mayor Mike Savage and Premier Stephen MacNeil spoke at the event and Lieutenant Governor J. J. Grant was in attendance.
The tree will arrive at the Boston Common on Friday, with a tree-lighting ceremony scheduled for Dec. 1. The Town Heroes, a Cape Breton band that performed at Wednesday’s event, will also provide live music at Boston’s ceremony.