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Pictou County tree Boston bound


Hundreds come to Black Point for tree cutting ceremony

BLACK POINT, N.S. —

It was a festive atmosphere in Black Point, Pictou County on Nov. 13, as hundreds of people gathered in a wide ring around a 45-foot white spruce tree.

This tree, on the property of Desmond Waithe and Corina Saunders, will soon be Boston bound.

“My sister lives in Boston,” said Theresa Benoit, who had travelled up from Antigonish to be there to see the tree come down. “I’m going to call her tonight and tell her that I’ve seen the tree getting ready to go.”

Since 1971, Nova Scotia has sent the city of Boston a Christmas tree to thank them for support and aid they sent to Halifax after an explosion 102 years ago killed 2,000 people and left the city in ruins.

This year the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry chose this 60-year-old tree from Pictou County to make the 1,100-kilometre southbound journey.

“I’m certainly going to miss the tree,” said Saunders. “It’s a beautiful tree.”

There was free coffee, snacks and games for the all the students that had come from school to take part in the day’s festivities. The smell of wood smoke and sage permeated the chilly air, mixing with the scent of fresh snow that had fallen hours earlier.

Before the tree was cut, the crowd heard speeches from Minister Iain Rankin, as well as Ryan Woods, Parks Commissioner in the City of Boston, where the it will arrive on Dec. 5 for a tree lighting ceremony the same day Boston Common, the oldest city park in the U.S.

Pictou Landing First Nation elder Ralf Francis blessed the tree in a smudging ceremony, and shortly after a man dressed as Santa was hoisted skyward in a crane, fastening the trunk to be lowered gently to the ground.

As she watched the chainsaw do its work, Saunders described the experience as bittersweet.

“It was really emotional. We’ve been here for 16 years and I’ve spent many days reading a book under the tree and enjoying the pleasure of it being here,” she said. “We feel so honoured that everyone came out to send it off. It’s a beautiful gift and it’s an honour to do it.”

Saunders said that she and Waithe will soon be following their beloved tree down to Boston for the ceremony.

“I’m sure the people of Boston will enjoy it as much as I did, and we’re told that the celebration down there is spectacular, so to see it lit in its fullness is going to be wonderful.”

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