News release

Christmas Island Family Donates Christmas Tree for Boston

The Tree for Boston, a deeply rooted Nova Scotia tradition, hails from the aptly named community of Christmas Island this year.

The 45-foot (13.7-metre) white spruce was donated by landowner Roddy Townsend, along with his children Angela, Carmen and Andrew.

“The holidays are a time of reflection and gratitude,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “The Tree for Boston continues to be a sign of our deep appreciation for the aid Boston provided after the Halifax Explosion.”

The public is invited to attend the tree-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, November 16, on the Townsend family’s property at 8008 Grand Narrows Highway, Christmas Island, Cape Breton. Carmen Townsend, an award-winning musician, will perform a song she has written about the Tree for Boston, and a local Mi’Kmaq elder will conduct a smudging ceremony before the tree is cut.


It is only fitting that the Tree for Boston this year is coming from Cape Breton’s own Christmas Island. I thank the Townsend family for this wonderful gift to the people of Boston who were so generous to Nova Scotia in its time of need after the Halifax explosion. Keith Bain, Speaker, House of Assembly, and MLA for Victoria-The Lakes

We are grateful to Boston and beyond excited to be a part of such a wonderful tradition. We feel this is going to bring a lot of happiness to the surrounding communities. The tree is such a special gesture of gratitude, hope and continuing friendship. Townsend family

Quick Facts:

  • 2022 marks the 105th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion
  • the Tree for Boston is the Province’s annual thank you to Boston for sending medical personnel and supplies to Nova Scotia within hours of the Halifax Explosion in 1917
  • the explosion devastated north-end Halifax, killed nearly 2,000 people and left thousands more injured and homeless
  • the first Tree for Boston was donated by Joseph Slauenwhite from Lunenburg County
  • the Tree for Boston will leave Halifax on November 21 and reach its destination for a tree-lighting ceremony on December 1 at 7 p.m. at the Boston Common

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