Boston’s Official Tree Will Arrive November 17

The annual gift of an evergreen Christmas tree from Nova Scotia is scheduled to arrive by police escort at Boston Common at approximately 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17. This is the 50th year that a tree has been donated and commemorates 104 years of friendship between Nova Scotia and the people of Boston after our city provided emergency assistance when Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital, was devastated by a maritime munitions explosion in the harbor in 1917. The first Tree for Boston was donated in 1971 by Joseph Slauenwhite from Lunenburg County.

“Nova Scotia and Boston have shared a special bond for a century,” said Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods. “This year marks 50 years that the province of Nova Scotia has gifted a tree, and it’s the 80th year that the City has held a tree lighting event on Boston Common. I’m pleased we will come together after a challenging year to celebrate the friendship and connections between our two regions.”

Boston’s official 2021 Christmas tree is a 60-year-old, 48-foot white spruce tree from Orangedale, Municipality of the County of Inverness, Cape Breton. The tree is being donated by the landowner L’Arche Cape Breton Community, a non-profit organization that creates safe, supportive homes and meaningful work for people with disabilities.

“The Tree for Boston has been a symbol of appreciation, friendship and unity for 50 years,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “We will never forget the kindness the people of Boston showed Nova Scotia following the tragedy of the Halifax Explosion.”

The tree-cutting ceremony will be held on November 10 on L’Arche Cape Breton’s property in Orangedale. Members of the L’Arche community will attend to help celebrate the annual tradition. Due to the pandemic, the Province is partnering with Port of Halifax, container terminal PSA Halifax and transportation company Eimskip Canada to transport the tree on a container vessel. The tree will leave Halifax on November 15 and be delivered to its new home on Boston Common.

Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods, an official Nova Scotian town crier, Santa Claus, and local school children including students from the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester 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 2, as the City of Boston’s Official Tree Lighting is celebrated on Boston Common from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The ceremony will be broadcast live on WCVB Channel 5 starting at 7 p.m.

The 80th annual Tree Lighting on Boston Common is co-sponsored by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the title sponsor, The Province of Nova Scotia. Amazon serves as our presenting sponsor while Bank of America and Exelon are supporting the event as key sponsors. Additional support provided by WCVB Channel 5 and the Boston Globe. 

For further information, visit and follow our social channels @bostonparksdept on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For more information about L’Arche Cape Breton, visit

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