Tree donated by L’Arche Cape Breton on the way to Boston

After it was cut down, the Tree for Boston was loaded onto a truck to be taken to Halifax.

ORANGEDALE: A special tree received a warm farewell last week.

The 60-year-old, 48-foot white spruce is a thank you gift to the people of Boston for their immediate medical aid and relief supplies following the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

“Nova Scotians will never forget those who were lost and injured as a result of the Halifax Explosion,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Steve Craig on behalf of Premier Tim Houston. “This tradition has grown into a feeling of unity, hope and harmony for both Canadians and Americans of all ages. The way a tragedy can further unite us is something truly remarkable.”

Photos by Communications Nova Scotia
Grade Primary students at Taramac Education Centre in Port Hawkesbury wave as the Tree for Boston stops on its way to Halifax.

This year marks the 104th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion and the 50th anniversary of the Tree for Boston tradition.

The province said it once again partnered with the Port of Halifax, PSA Halifax and Eimskip Canada to transport the tree on a container vessel. The tree left Halifax on Nov. 15, reached Portland, Maine, on Nov. 16, then arrived in Boston on Nov. 17.

The live tree-lighting ceremony will take place on Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. AST. Nova Scotia musicians Beòlach with Heather Rankin and R&B artist Keonté Beals will perform for more than 15,000 people on the Boston Common, and an expected audience of 200,000 viewers on WCVB Channel 5 Boston.

L’Arche Cape Breton community members gather at the Tree for Boston ceremony in Orangedale.

“Eimskip is honoured to be a part of this great tradition again this year,” said Shawn Doyle, Sales & Operation Lead, Eimskip Canada. “The supply chain has been disrupted in many ways, however Eimskip has been able to service our customers and find new solutions to the demand. Supporting projects like the Tree for Boston is a very important part of our values, so we are happy to help in any way we can.”

The Tree for Boston is cut and lowered to the ground on Nov. 10 in Orangedale.

The Halifax Explosion occurred on Dec. 6, 1917, when the Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, in Halifax Harbour, the province said, noting that 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 more were injured as a result of the explosion.

This year’s tree was donated by landowner L’Arche Cape Breton, a non-profit organization that creates safe, supportive homes and meaningful work for people with disabilities.

John William Cremo from We’koqma’q First Nation performed the smudging ceremony.