Pictured are Premier Stephen McNeil, Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Suzanne Lohnes-Croft (left) and U.S. Consul Andrea Wiktowy at the send-off for the tree.

HALIFAX: A special tree received a heartfelt farewell on Monday.

The 45-foot white spruce from Richmond County is a thank-you gift to the people of Boston for their immediate support following the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

Heather and Tony Sampson, who live in Grand Anse, donated this year’s tree.

“Nova Scotia will never forget those who were lost and injured as a result of the explosion, and the support from the people of Boston,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This year’s Tree for Boston is dedicated to health-care workers, honouring both the 1917 response and those taking care of us on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are thankful for the compassion and kindness shown in times of need.”

Photos by Communications Nova Scotia
The 45-foot white spruce, a thank-you gift to the people of Boston for their support following the Halifax Explosion of 1917, makes its way in the Port of Halifax past the Canadian, American, and Nova Scotian flags.

Due to the pandemic, the province partnered with Port of Halifax, PSA Halifax and Eimskip Canada to transport the tree on a container vessel. The tree left Halifax today and will be delivered to its new home on Boston Common within days.

“The Tree for Boston is such an important tradition for Nova Scotia,” said Captain Allan Gray, president and chief executive officer, Halifax Port Authority. “All of us at the Port of Halifax are proud to lend a hand in helping the tree make its way to the people of Boston. This year especially, we need to work together and celebrate those traditions that bring us closer together.”

The tree will be transported from Halifax to Portland, Maine, on a container vessel, then from Portland to Boston, Massachusetts.

“Eimskip Canada is honoured to be a part of this important tradition and very happy to be able to take care of transporting of the Christmas tree to the City of Boston,” Thordis Thorlacius, liner manager, Eimskip Canada said. “We will make sure that the tree gets to its destination safely on our container vessel AVA. Stay safe and stay happy.”

The Tree for Boston received a police escort to the Port of Halifax.

Events will be virtual this year, but Nova Scotians and Bostonians can take part in the celebrations by following the Tree for Boston on social media leading up to the one-hour virtual tree-lighting ceremony on Thursday, December 3 at 8 p.m. AST. The broadcast is expected to reach an audience of more than 200,000 viewers on WCVB Channel 5 Boston.

The broadcast will highlight the Celtic Colours International Festival featuring performances by the Barra MacNeils and Sarah and Elizabeth MacInnis with Jenny MacKenzie.

This 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. In all, 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 more were injured as a result of the explosion.

For more information on the Tree for Boston 2020, go to: https://novascotia.ca/treeforboston, check it out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TreeForBoston, find it on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TreeforBoston, or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/treeforboston.

Premier Stephen McNeil and Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage Suzanne Lohnes-Croft are pictured with the tree.