Bos­ton Christ­mas tree makes brief stop in Amherst

Con­tin­u­ing a decades-old tra­di­tion

The Amherst News - - NEWS - By Dar­rell Cole dar­rell.cole@amher­st­ twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

Veron­ica Richards still re­mem­bers the first time she saw Nova Sco­tia’s gift to the peo­ple of Bos­ton shin­ing in the Bos­ton Com­mon.

A Cana­dian study­ing in Bos­ton she was in­vited to at­tend the an­nual Christ­mas lightup in the Mas­sachusetts city sev­eral decades ago.

“It was re­ally ex­cit­ing be­cause I was from Nova Sco­tia and felt this tremen­dous sense of pride be­ing in Bos­ton when it was lit up, know­ing that it came from us,” Richards said Sunday as Nova Sco­tia’s lat­est gift to Bos­ton made a stopover in Amherst – it’s last stop in Nova Sco­tia. “It’s was also nice to know how they helped us when we were in need. There’s some­thing touch­ing about it.”

This year marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the Hal­i­fax Ex­plo­sion when sev­eral thou­sand were killed or in­jured when two ships col­lided in the har­bour caus­ing a mas­sive blast that tore through the city.

Bos­ton was quick to of­fer its as­sis­tance to Nova Sco­tia in the days af­ter the dis­as­ter send­ing a re­lief train with food, wa­ter and med­i­cal sup­plies. Nova Sco­tia would send a Christ­mas tree to Bos­ton that Christ­mas to say thanks, a tra­di­tion that was restarted in 1971 and con­tin­ues to this day.

This year’s tree was cut in Blue’s Mills, Cape Bre­ton Is­land.

Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple greeted the tree at the At­lantic Su­per­store on South Al­bion Street on Nov. 19. Mem­bers of the Amherst Youth Town Coun­cil served cook­ies and hot choco­late from the Su­per­store, Drew Moore played and sang Christ­mas car­ols and New Glas­gow’s town crier Jim Ste­wart wel­comed to tree to its fi­nal Nova Sco­tia stop be­fore cross­ing into New Brunswick.

Dave MacFar­lane from Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Re­newal said it’s a tremen­dous hon­our to have been given the task of truck­ing the three to Bos­ton for the last serveral years.

“This is my fifth year tak­ing it down and each year it gets a lit­tle more ex­cit­ing,” MacFar­lane said. “It’s about a 13-hour drive, but we have a num­ber of stops on the way down. This year, it’s go­ing to take about a week from the time we cut it down to the time it ar­rives in Bos­ton.”

Af­ter leav­ing Amherst later Sunday morn­ing the tree made its way to the U.S. bor­der at Houl­ton, Me. and even­tu­ally to Au­gusta for an­other ceremony be­fore mak­ing its way to Bos­ton where it will be lit up on Nov. 30.

Premier Stephen McNeil will be joined at the Bos­ton ceremony by Nova Sco­tian artists Port Cities, Cassie and Mag­gie and Reeny Smith. The tree-light­ing at­tracts about 20,000 peo­ple and is broad­cast live on Bos­ton tele­vi­sion to 300,000 peo­ple.

Amherst Mayor Dr. David Ko­gon said the stopover in Amherst helped kick-off the Christ­mas sea­son in town, com­ing a day af­ter the Christ­mas pa­rade that saw sev­eral thou­sand peo­ple line the pa­rade route from down­town to the Amherst Cen­tre mall.

“We love it,” Ko­gon said. “It just adds to the Christ­mas spirit in town. The thank you to Bos­ton comes from the en­tire prov­ince, not just Hal­i­fax, and for us it’s nice to be the last stop in Nova Sco­tia. It’s also spe­cial given this is the 100th an­niver­sary of the Hal­i­fax Ex­plo­sion.”

DAr­rell Cole – Amherst News

New Glas­gow town crier Jim Ste­wart wel­comes the truck car­ry­ing the Bos­ton Christ­mas tree as its ar­rives in Amherst early Nov.19. The tree was in Amherst for a brief stop over be­fore cross­ing into New Brunswick on its way to Bos­ton Com­mon.

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