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Susan Munroe

Nova Scotia Thanks Boston With a Christmas Tree

By November 21, 2013

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Updated: 11/21/2013

For more than 40 years it's been a Christmas tradition for the Canadian province of Nova Scotia to ship one of its biggest and best Christmas trees to Boston to thank the people of Boston for the emergency assistance they provided after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Relief from Boston was the first to arrive the day after the horrendous explosion which killed 1,900 people and wounded another 9,000. The New Englanders were also the last to leave.

This year the tree is also offered in remembrance of the suffering of Boston in last spring's Boston Marathon tragedy.

The 2013 Christmas tree is a 70-year-old, 15-metre (47-foot) white spruce donated by Mary Lou Milligan of Mill Cove, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.

On November 12, hundreds of children from local elementary schools attended the Christmas tree cutting ceremony, along with provincial government representatives, the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia and RCMP in their red serge uniforms. The tree then travelled by way of Halifax, where Nova Scotians had a chance to sign a large thank-you card for Boston.

The tree continued on its 1000-kilometre trip by flatbed truck to Boston where it will be the focal point of the annual Boston Common Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 5. The event will be televised on the ABC Boston television channel and is expected to draw a live crowd of about 30,000.

Nova Scotia and the Boston Christmas Tree
The Halifax Explosion
Tree for Boston - Nova Scotia Government
Nova Scotia Facts
Boston About.com


December 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm
(1) Jan Geddes says:

My Grammie told me all about how Boston responded…so quickly. Sixty miles from Halifax ,,,, in Camden NS… Grammie Geddes was so afraid ,,, the windows in her home shook, their Home shook as well…. As a Nova Scotian,,, in 2011 — We are so Thankful, God Bless You All :) ))

December 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm
(2) David says:

Having recently been made aware of the reason for the tree, I have re-told to our sons of the history of the gratitude of Nova Scotia and the good deeds of our fellow Bostonians. They asked if we could visit Nova Scotia and are looking ahead to visiting a place where thank you has a deeper meaning supported by generations. Nova Scotia – you are welcome. Be well.

December 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm
(3) joe says:

Pretty sure you meant 600 miles..but anyway thanks canada!

December 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm
(4) Jo (Dash) says:

No, I am pretty sure that she meant 60 miles. She said Camden, NS (Nova Scotia) – not Camden, New Jersey!! My grandmother was also 60 miles away in Nova Scotia in a lumber camp and felt the explosion. She told her children to get away from the door, because she thought that there was a bear at the door!

November 18, 2012 at 12:08 am
(5) jason says:

Great, thank you Canadians. for your thankfulness. We are also thankful to you for helping the people of maine during the ice storm of 1998. We will always be thankful for you as well. Go Canada….

November 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm
(6) sabrina hickey says:

My uncle Bill, a fellow Cape Bretoner, (NS), delivers this tree every year, and has for well over a decade now. I think its a great tradition to be a part of!!

November 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm
(7) Lori says:

And Quebec Power came go MA & NH to help restore after hurricain Sandy

January 20, 2013 at 12:24 am
(8) Doug Baker says:

I lost my Grandmother in the 1917 collision. I grew up in Boston but during WW 2, my sister and I were living in Halifax as little kids. There was another collion in Halifax Harbor that sent debris flying all over the city and beyond. Our Uncle grabbed us off the park play ground and possibly saved our lives back then. Went back to visit in 1959. Went back to that park where a very large anchor had launched many miles to be embedded there and on permanent display. WOW!!

September 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm
(9) Mike Morrow says:

My G’parents, mother, sister & myself were born in Halifax. Here home on North street survived the explosion but G’ma (Nan) would tell me of some of her friends that lost their homes (& I expect maybe some lost their life).
While I was in Clearwater Beach Florida a few years back I was telling this story to my young nephew when we were license plate spotting. I saw one from Mass. I explained what Haligonians would send Bostonians every year (he was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia). An older gentleman looking on just smiled at us.
The housing that was quickly put up by the Boston help are now ‘fancy’ tea spots.
There. More stuff for your Brains!

September 27, 2013 at 7:50 am
(10) Colette larochelle says:

Years ago I bought a Christmas book for my children about a litte girl’s whose family sent the Boston Christmas tree from their tree farm. She added a decoration to the tree as a thank you gift to the people of Boston. I cannot remember the title or the author’s name.
Would somebody remember?

November 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm
(11) Catie says:

Colette (and maybe others, who, like me, racked their brains for a bit to find this) – You’re thinking of “Love from Katie” by Paddy Muir :-)

November 16, 2013 at 7:14 am
(12) Susan Munroe says:

Well done Catie!

November 22, 2013 at 1:23 am
(13) Mary Munroe says:

Well done indeed.
So many interesting commenis arising from this narrative.

December 4, 2013 at 6:26 am
(14) hotele Kraków says:

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to get hottest updates, so where can i do it please help.

December 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm
(15) Diana says:

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All the best

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