OXFORD, N.S.- Nova Scotia’s annual ritual of making a celebrity out of a tree begins today in Oxford.
The “Tree for Boston” will be cut down in Oxford, N.S., this morning, and then start a four-day tour in which it is carolled and paraded before being sent off to Massachusetts.
The huge Christmas tree is a gift meant to show Haligonians’ gratitude for the help Bostonians provided after the devastating Halifax Explosion 101 years ago.
The province’s Lands and Forestry minister, Iain Rankin, will be in Oxford for the tree-cutting, as will Jane Abram, a Mi’kmaq elder from Millbrook First Nation, Mayor Trish Stewart and carollers from Oxford Regional Elementary.
The tree will then be put on public display at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro this afternoon, before being given a public sendoff at Halifax’s Grand Parade on Friday morning with the mayor, U.S. consul and others.
But the tree will stick around for another day, and appear in Saturday’s Chronicle Herald Holiday Parade of Lights in Halifax.
On Sunday morning, it will be displayed once again, at the Amherst, N.S., Atlantic Superstore.
Last year, the tree was given a Halifax police escort to the U.S. border, and also stopped in Augusta, Maine, en route to Boston
Caused by the collision of two wartime ships – one of which was carrying explosives – the Halifax Explosion killed about 2,000 people, wounded 9,000 and flattened a wide swath of the port city, including a Mi’kmaq village on the other side of the harbour.
It remains one of Canada’s worst human-caused disasters.
In 2015, the province spent $234,000 transporting the tree and staging ceremonies in Halifax and Boston, where the annual tree-lighting on the Boston Common typically attracts about 20,000 people, and is carried live on local television.