News release

Premier to Attend Boston Tree Lighting, Conclude First International Mission

Nova Scotians and Bostonians are eagerly awaiting the Christmas tree lighting on the Boston Common tonight, December 2, at 8 p.m. AST.

“Nova Scotia will never forget the generosity shown by the City of Boston after the Halifax Explosion, and to say thank you, we send the annual gift of a beautiful Christmas tree,” said Premier Tim Houston. “Nova Scotia has had a strong relationship with Massachusetts for hundreds of years, cementing dependable ties along the way. We are not only proud to share this history, but also our business exports, our creative industries and our remarkable landmarks with our United States neighbours.”

Prior to the visit to Boston, Premier Houston travelled to Washington, D.C., to attend meetings with government, trade and business leaders as part of his first international trade and economic mission. Similar meetings were also held in Boston, and the mission will conclude with participation in the annual Holiday Lights event featuring the Nova Scotian tree.

The tree lighting ceremony is broadcast to an audience of more than 200,000 viewers and attracts 20,000 people to Boston Common. The Premier will be joined by Nova Scotia musicians Beòlach with Heather Rankin and R&B artist Keonté Beals.

This year’s tree, a 60-year-old, 48-foot white spruce, was donated by L’Arche Cape Breton, a non-profit organization that creates safe, supportive homes and meaningful work for people with disabilities. This organization has grown internationally to include over 150 communities in more than 30 countries around the world.


The generous and selfless response offered by the people of Boston to the citizens of Halifax in the wake of the horror of the Halifax Explosion will never be forgotten. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this sincere gesture of thanks from the people of Nova Scotia to the City of Boston, and the fabulous 48-foot white spruce, donated by the wonderful community of L’Arche Cape Breton, is every bit worthy for this occasion. Rodger Cuzner, Consul General of Canada in Boston

We are thrilled to be featured on this year’s Holiday Lights show. With this year’s tree coming from Orangedale, it feels like a great time to feature Cape Breton tunes on the broadcast. I have performed in Boston the most of all the cities in the United States, and I look forward to seeing some of my American friends. Wendy MacIsaac, artist, Beòlach

Quick Facts:

  • 2021 marks the 104th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion and the 50th anniversary of the Tree for Boston tradition
  • the Halifax Explosion occurred on December 6, 1917, when the Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with explosives, in Halifax Harbour
  • Nova Scotia exported $3.8 billion in goods to the United States in 2019; trade with the U.S. supports 26,700 Nova Scotian jobs
  • the Tree for Boston event builds participation in several trade initiatives planned for 2022 in support of the Nova Scotia craft sector
  • the Washington mission delegation included Premier Houston; Nicole LaFosse Parker, Chief of Staff to the Premier; and staff from the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs; staff from Nova Scotia Business Inc. and the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage joined the mission in Boston

Past news releases:

L’Arche Cape Breton:


Media Contacts:

Catherine Klimek
Premier’s Office Cell: 902-717-1020 Email:
Amelia Jarvis
Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage Cell: 902-430-5680 Email: