News release

Richmond County Tree Sails to Boston

A special tree received a heartfelt farewell today, Nov. 16. The 45-foot white spruce is a thank-you gift to the people of Boston for their immediate support following the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

“Nova Scotia will never forget those who were lost and injured as a result of the explosion, and the support from the people of Boston,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This year’s Tree for Boston is dedicated to health-care workers, honouring both the 1917 response and those taking care of us on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are thankful for the compassion and kindness shown in times of need.”

Due to the pandemic, the province is partnering with Port of Halifax, PSA Halifax and Eimskip Canada to transport the tree on a container vessel. The tree will leave Halifax on Wednesday, Nov.18, and be delivered to its new home on Boston Common within days.

Events will be virtual this year, but Nova Scotians and Bostonians can take part in the celebrations by following the Tree for Boston on social media leading up to the one-hour virtual tree-lighting ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. AST. The broadcast is expected to reach an audience of more than 200,000 viewers on WCVB Channel 5 Boston, and highlights the Celtic Colours International Festival featuring performances by the Barra MacNeils and Sarah and Elizabeth MacInnis with Jenny MacKenzie.


The Tree for Boston is such an important tradition for Nova Scotia. All of us at the Port of Halifax are proud to lend a hand in helping the tree make its way to the people of Boston. This year especially, we need to work together and celebrate those traditions that bring us closer together. Captain Allan Gray, president and chief executive officer, Halifax Port Authority

Eimskip Canada is honoured to be a part of this important tradition and very happy to be able to take care of transporting of the Christmas tree to the City of Boston. We will make sure that the tree gets to its destination safely on our container vessel AVA. Stay safe and stay happy. Thordis Thorlacius, liner manager, Eimskip Canada

Quick Facts:

  • 2020 marks the 103rd anniversary of the Halifax Explosion
  • the explosion occurred on Dec. 6, 1917 when the Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, in the Halifax Harbour
  • 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 more were injured as a result of the explosion
  • the tree will be transported from Halifax to Portland, Maine, on a container vessel, then Portland to Boston, Massachusetts
  • Heather and Tony Sampson, who live in Dundee, Richmond Co., donated this year’s tree
  • the 45-foot white spruce tree is from Grande Anse, Richmond Co.

Additional Resources:

Tree for Boston 2020:




Tree for Boston Dedicated to Frontline Health-Care Workers:

Port of Halifax:

Eimskip Canada:

PSA Halifax:

Celtic Colours International Festival:


Media Contact:

Matt Lumley
Cell: 902-229-5671 Email: