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Boston’s Christmas Tree: A Gifted Tradition from Nova Scotia

Christmas tree
Balsam Fir

The Province of Nova Scotia has gifted an enormous Christmas tree to the city of Boston.  2013 marks the 42nd consecutive year of this tradition, which has served as an ongoing thank you for the aid Boston provided following a ship explosion in Halifax Harbor known as the Halifax Explosion. The explosion devastated the buildings and people within the vicinity of Halifax Harbor.

The Halifax Explosion

A French ammunition ship caught fire after it collided with a second war ship coming through the narrows of the Harbor channel in December of 1917. The fire then piqued the interest of Haligonians who made their way to the shoreline for a better vantage. Unfortunately, the fire triggered a massive explosion that resulted in a few thousand fatalities and several thousand injuries from projectile debris and the collapse of buildings. Many were left homeless, and a blizzard the following day made matters worse, but did not thwart the rescue efforts of the Bostonian (i.e. doctors and nurses).

Boston’s Nova Scotian Christmas Tree

This year’s tree is a 47-foot white spruce, estimated to be 40 years old. Red spruce and balsam fir have also been selected in times past for Boston’s Christmas beacon. The original tree had been delivered for Christmas in 1918. The annual tradition then began in 1971 when the Christmas tree offering was reinstated by the Province of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia arguably has the best Christmas trees, and accounts for a large percentage of trees found in New Englanders’ homes during the holiday. Our very own balsam fir is a Nova Scotian export!

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