Photo credit,
Photo credit,
The annual gift of an evergreen Christmas tree from Nova Scotia will arrive by police escort at Boston Common at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, November 18.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of this traditional gift giving, a way to thank the people of Boston for providing emergency assistance when Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital city, was devastated by a wartime explosion in 1917.

Boston’s official 2016 Christmas tree is a 47-foot white spruce tree located alongside Hwy 395 in Ainslie Glen, Cape Breton.  The tree is on a highway right-of-way and owned by the Province of Nova Scotia which is unusual because, with the exception of 1981, the Christmas trees sent to Boston have been donated by private property owners. The spruce is located near the Waycobah First Nations community nestled along the shores of the world-famous Bras d’Or Lakes.  In addition, Nova Scotia is donating smaller trees to Rosie’s Place and the Pine Street Inn.

On November 18, the official 2016 Christmas tree will be escorted by the Boston Police Department beginning around 10 a.m. from Billerica via Route 3 South to Route 128 North to Interstate 93 South to Sullivan Square to Rutherford Avenue over the Charlestown bridge and will weave through downtown Boston on North Washington, New Chardon, Cambridge, Tremont, Boylston, and Charles Streets to enter Boston Common at the corner of Beacon and Charles Streets at approximately 11 a.m.

Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook, an official Nova Scotian town crier, Santa Claus, and local schoolchildren will greet the tree at its final destination near the Boston Visitors Center at 139 Tremont Street.  The tree will be lit at approximately 7:55 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, as the City of Boston’s Official Tree Lighting is celebrated on Boston Common from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tree Trivia

With the ALB Seminar coming up tomorrow we thought it would be fun to share some facts about the trees that will be saved when we can properly identify and eradicate the threat posed by this invasive insect. Hope you enjoy our tree trivia and that we see you tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the Franklin Park Golf Course Club House for a free information session about how you can save the trees we love so much.

Tree Trivia:

  • Did you know that every year, the Boston Common receives their Christmas tree from Nova Scotia? It serves as a thank-you to the Boston Red Cross and Massachusetts Public Safety Committee, which provided relief efforts in the province after the Halifax Explosion in 1917.
  • When the Brewer Fountain Plaza re-opened this May, the improvements included an additional 32 elms surrounding the fountain area in the Boston Common.
  • In its native China, a redwood tree can grow up to the size of a ten-story building. We are lucky to have a Dawn Redwood in the Public Garden!
  • The willow tree in the Boston Public Garden has served as an iconic subject for thousands of artists, photographers and tourists throughout the years.
  • During the American Revolution, the Sons of Liberty gathered under one of the largest trees in the Boston Common to protest Great Britain’s eradication of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The tree became the Liberty Tree. When British loyalists eventually cut it down, the Sons re-named it the Liberty Stump.
  • The Boston Public Garden contains hundreds of different types of trees. Some are native to the Garden and others have been brought in from exotic locations around the world.
  • The Boston Common possessed the first tree-lined pedestrian mall on its Tremont Street side.
  • Did you know that the Boston Common and Public Garden are on a list of the best parks in the world by the Project for Public Spaces?
  • Many of the trees in the Boston Common have Latin-based names. It was once expected that proper Boston schoolchildren knew both the Latin names and the English translations for the trees.

As always, we’d like to thank the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and our arborist Norm Hellie for all their hard work in maintaining the trees we love in the Public Garden and the Boston Common.

Christmas on the Common

Boston’s holiday season started in full swing with the annual Christmas tree lighting last Thursday, December 2, on Boston Common. The City and private individuals have paid for the lighting of the trees on Boston Common since 1910. According to Boston legend, Mayor John Fitzgerald brought the first Christmas tree to the Common to be lit as a public celebration. Christmas tree lighting ceremonies have occurred through the ages, marking the beginning of the holiday season.

Since 1972, the people of Nova Scotia have given the people of Boston a tree as a thank-you for their aid to the City of Halifax on December 6, 1917. That year, a munitions ship collided with another ship in Halifax Harbor, creating an explosion that destroyed most of the city. Massachusetts’ residents were the first relief workers to make it through a terrible snowstorm to aid the city.  This gift is a fantastic way to commemorate the history and partnership between the two cities.

Post your photos of the Christmas tree on our Facebook page!