For the first time ever, Nova Scotia's evergreen Christmas gift to Boston is coming from Cape Breton and the Mi'kmaw community will help celebrate its send-off.
The large Christmas tree that is given as part of the annual thank you to Boston for help provided after the 1917 Halifax explosion is coming from provincial Crown land.
"This year, the tree is truly the people's tree," said Lloyd Hines, Minister of Natural Resources. "It's a gift from the people of Nova Scotia, selected from public land, to be given to the people of Boston as a thank you for their help in our time of need all those years ago."
The 47-foot (14 metre) white spruce will be taken from Crown land along Route 395 in Ainslie Glen, Inverness County, close to the Waycobah First Nation.
Boston sent medical personnel and supplies when almost 2,000 people were killed and hundreds more left injured and homeless by the historic Halifax explosion, including Mi'kmaw people living near the Dartmouth shore of Halifax Harbour at Turtle Grove.
"We, the Mi'kmaq, are proud to be part of the Christmas tree gift to Boston this year," said Chief Rod Googoo of Waycobah First Nation. "Our ties to the United States go back to a time before the Halifax Explosion, when the United States declared independence and we, the Mi'kmaq, were the first nation to recognize them as an independent country. The Mi'kmaq signed the Watertown Treaty with the United States in 1776 and it is still recognized today."
The Department of Natural Resources will oversee the cutting of the tree during a public ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 15, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
More than a hundred school children from Waycobah First Nation Elementary School and Whycocomagh Education Centre will attend the tree-cutting ceremony with Mr. Hines, Chief Googoo, television meteorologist Cindy Day, and Santa Claus.
There will be a performance of traditional Mi'kmaw drumming by We'koqma'qewiskwa, a drum group from the Waycobah First Nation. Cape Breton fiddler and bag piper Kenneth MacKenzie will also perform.
After the ceremony the tree will be transported by truck to Halifax with brief stops at Tamarac Elementary School in Port Hawkesbury and at a community event on the grounds of East Antigonish Education Centre in Monastery. There will be a final public farewell at the Grand Parade at Halifax City Hall, at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The province will then transport the tree 1,117 kilometres to Boston.
The tree-lighting ceremony will take place on the Boston Common, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., at a ceremony expected to attract about 30,000 people in person and be broadcast live to about 240,000 viewers on Boston television station WCVB. The Cape Breton band, The Town Heroes, will perform.
"We're incredibly honoured to be a part of the Boston tree- lighting event," said Mike Ryan, of the band. "Many Nova Scotians, including me, have relatives in the Boston area. The city has always been a warm, welcoming ally to Nova Scotia and we couldn't be happier to be a small part in expressing Nova Scotia's gratitude."
Details on this year's tree-cutting ceremony are at www.novascotia.ca/treeforboston
and people can follow the tree's travels on Twitter @TreeforBoston and like the tree on Facebook at www.facebook.com/treeforboston
FOR BROADCAST USE:
For the first time ever, Nova Scotia's evergreen
Christmas gift to Boston is coming from Cape Breton and the
Mi'kmaw community will be part of the send-off.
Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines says it is truly the
people's tree, selected from publicly owned land.
The 14 metre white spruce is Nova Scotia's annual thank you
for Boston's help after the 1917 Halifax explosion
The tree will make brief stops at Tamarac Elementary School
in Port Hawkesbury and at a community event on the grounds of
East Antigonish Education Centre in Monastery on its way to
Halifax for a November 16th public send-off at the Grand Parade.
Details are at nova scotia dot c-a slash tree for boston.
Media Contact: Bruce Nunn