Credit: Credit: Tree For Boston/Facebook
BOSTON, Mass (WBZ NewsRadio) — When a 41-foot white spruce tree arrives in Boston next week from Nova Scotia, Canada, not only it will signify the official start to the holiday season in the city but will also mark the continuation of an annual ritual between the two cities and nations — now in its 101st year.
During the First World War, on December 6, 1917, two wartime ships collided in the Halifax Harbour, one was carrying explosives, causing a devastating explosion which killed nearly 2,000 people, wounding 9,000.
The explosion was so massive, it vaporized half of the city leaving many people homeless.
It is considered one of Canada's worst human-caused disasters.
WATCH: A city destroyed: The Halifax Explosion, 100 years later in 360-degrees
Source: CBC News/YouTube
First responders from Boston traveled to Halifax to help. Since then, the citizens of Nova Scotia send a tree annually as a gratitude for the help provided.
"It's a very important event to all Nova Scotians," said Bruce Nunn, with the Province of Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry, "It represents a gift back to Boston, a token of gratitude in our worst moment of need," he said.
Starting this week, the tree, which has its own social media presence, will begin its long 650+ miles journey from Oxford, NS to Faneuil Hall with a series of parades and escorts.
The tree-lighting ceremony on Boston Common will take place on Thursday, November 29th.
Listen to Bruce Nunn with the Province of Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry talk to WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker on the importance of the annual tradition between Boston and Halifax, NS, Canada, and this year's tree.
WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker (@RadioBenParker) reports.