Nova Scotia bids fond farewell to Tree for Boston
Hundreds of people gathered in Halifax’s Grand Parade on Wednesday to celebrate and send off Nova Scotia’s Tree for Boston.
The 14-metre white spruce was cut down Tuesday on Crown land along Route 395 in Ainslie Glen in Inverness County. This is the first time the tree has come from Cape Breton.
More than 100 students from Waycobah First Nation Elementary School and Whycocomagh Education Centre attended Tuesday’s tree-cutting ceremony, along with Waycobah First Nation Chief Rod Googoo, CTV Atlantic meteorologist Cindy Day and Santa Claus.
The crowd was treated to a traditional Mi'kmaw drumming performance by We'koqma'qewiskwa, a drum group from the Waycobah First Nation. Cape Breton fiddler and bag piper Kenneth MacKenzie also performed.
After the tree was cut down, it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and transported to Halifax, where it was escorted by Halifax Regional Police to Grand Parade. It also made a stop at St. Stephen’s Elementary School, which became pen pals with Mather Elementary school in Boston, to learn more about the annual tree tradition.
The Town Heroes and First Nations We'koqma'qewiskwa Drummers entertained the crowd at Grand Parade before bidding a final farewell to the tree.
The tree will travel 1,117 kilometres to Boston on a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal flatbed truck. It is expected to arrive Friday at the Boston Common, where it will be decorated with thousands of LED lights.
A tree-lighting ceremony will take place Dec. 1, featuring a musical performance by The Town Heroes. The ceremony attracts roughly 20,000 people and is broadcast live on ABC affiliate WCBV, to an audience of about 300,000.
Nova Scotia sends a tree to Boston every year to thank the city for its help following the Halifax Explosion in 1917.
Boston sent medical personnel and supplies when almost 2,000 people were killed and hundreds more left injured and homeless by the historic explosion, including Mi'kmaw people living near the Dartmouth shore of Halifax Harbour at Turtle Grove.
"Each year we remember the tragedy that struck our province almost 100 years ago, and the immediate help and relief provided by the people of Boston," said Premier Stephen McNeil at Wednesday’s sendoff ceremony.
"The Christmas tree is a symbol of our gratitude. We will never forget the kindness Bostonians showed us in a time of need."