HALIFAX: Nova Scotians and Bostonians excitedly awaited the virtual lighting of the Tree for Boston which took place on December 3, on the Boston Common.
The 45-foot white spruce tree from Grand Anse, Richmond County, is dedicated to health care workers, honouring Boston’s response after the Halifax Explosion in 1917 and those working the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines today.
Heather and Tony Sampson, who live in Dundee, donated this year’s tree.
“We are pleased to continue the tradition of friendship, gratitude and celebration with the people of Boston, especially during these challenging times,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Nova Scotia will never forget the support provided in our time of need.”
The one-hour, virtual tree-lighting ceremony was broadcast on the WCVB Channel 5 Boston. The broadcast reached an audience of more than 200,000 viewers
It highlighted the Celtic Colours International Festival featuring performances by the Barra MacNeils, and Sarah and Elizabeth MacInnis, with Jenny MacKenzie.
“We are pleased that the Celtic Colours International Festival has been provided the opportunity to be part of this important event for the City of Boston,” said Mike MacSween, executive director, Celtic Colours International Festival. “We hope our talented musicians will help you get into the holiday spirit. We also hope to have many of our Boston friends join us on Cape Breton Island for the festival when it is safe.”
Other artists include Nicholas Christopher, Maestro Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, and multiple Grammy Award winner Shaggy.
“This year’s celebration is once again a reminder of the importance of working together,” Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston said. “As Boston helped Nova Scotia in 1917, the city and our residents must partner to keep each other safe and healthy from the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank Nova Scotia for the Boston Common Christmas tree and I am grateful we are still able to celebrate the holiday season virtually.”
The year marks the 103rd anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. The explosion occurred on December 6, 1917 when the Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives in the Halifax Harbour. Approximately 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 more were injured as a result of the explosion.