News release

Richmond County Tree Lights Up Boston

Nova Scotians and Bostonians excitedly await the virtual lighting of the Tree for Boston taking place tonight, Dec. 3, on the Boston Common.

The 45-foot white spruce tree from Grande Anse, Richmond Co., is dedicated to health-care workers, honouring Boston’s response after the Halifax Explosion in 1917 and those working the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines today.

“We are pleased to continue the tradition of friendship, gratitude and celebration with the people of Boston, especially during these challenging times,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Nova Scotia will never forget the support provided in our time of need.”

The one-hour, virtual tree-lighting ceremony will broadcast, tonight, on the WCVB Channel 5 Boston at 8 p.m. AST. It will highlight the Celtic Colours International Festival featuring performances by the Barra MacNeils, and Sarah and Elizabeth MacInnis with Jenny MacKenzie. Other artists include Nicholas Christopher, Maestro Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, and multiple Grammy Award winner Shaggy.


This year’s celebration is once again a reminder of the importance of working together. As Boston helped Nova Scotia in 1917, the city and our residents must partner to keep each other safe and healthy from the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank Nova Scotia for the Boston Common Christmas tree and I am grateful we are still able to celebrate the holiday season virtually. Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston

We are pleased that the Celtic Colours International Festival has been provided the opportunity to be part of this important event for the City of Boston. We hope our talented musicians will help you get into the holiday spirit. We also hope to have many of our Boston friends join us on Cape Breton Island for the festival when it is safe. Mike MacSween, executive director, Celtic Colours International Festival

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
  • Heather and Tony Sampson, who live in Dundee, Richmond Co., donated this year’s tree
  • the broadcast is expected to reach an audience of more than 200,000 viewers

Additional Resources:

Richmond County Tree Sails to Boston:

Tree for Boston Dedicated to Frontline Health-Care Workers:

WCVB to air "Holiday Lights" annual tree lighting program on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.:

Tree for Boston 2020:




Celtic Colours International Festival:


Media Contact:

Matt Lumley
Cell: 902-229-5671 Email: