In 1917, when the city of Halifax was devastated by the tragic explosion of a cargo ship loaded with wartime ammunition, the Boston community rallied to aid the Canadian survivors. Boston provided medical personnel and supplies to help treat injured victims and support their families. The resulting friendship between the two cities remains strong to this day, and has given rise to an annual December tradition.
Each year, the City of Halifax donates a Christmas tree to Boston as a gesture of gratitude. 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the annual gift, and this year’s specimen is a gorgeous 45-foot-tall white spruce, grown and donated by Ken and Donna Spinney of Central Argyle, Nova Scotia. In addition, Halifax also sent four 7-foot-tall evergreens for local Boston Charities.
Nova Scotia Christmas trees are internationally renowned for their quality and beauty, and are exported widely.
“We are thrilled to be this year’s donors of Nova Scotia’s gift to Boston, especially on the 40th year of this tradition,” Donna Spinney said in a statement.
The tree was cut at a public ceremony amidst a crowd of Canadians, and shipped across the Bay of Fundy, down through New Brunswick before arriving in Boston. The Consulate General of Canada in Boston was on hand for the tree’s lighting, along with the Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia.
“The tree is a symbol of appreciation to the great people of Boston for support following the great Halifax Explosion,” said Consul General Binns. “Every lighting brings these two great communities of Canada and New England together to renew historic ties and friendship.”
The annual tree lighting ceremony was a grand success. With a little help from Santa Claus, Mayor Menino of the City of Boston lit the tree, and the enormous spruce shone into the night, dazzling spectators to many cheers. Co-starring with the Canadian tree, the ceremony also featured performances by Joey McIntyre, the Radio City Rockettes, and Boston Ballet.
The Consulate General of Canada in Boston was proud to play a part in honouring a heart-warming tradition and celebrating the holiday season with valued friends.