University of Virginia Historical Collections at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

The Halifax Christmas Tree for Boston

Nova Scotia Thanks Boston for Help following the Halifax Explosion

Christmas tree on Boston Common by Louis Oliveira from Warwick, RI via Wikimedia Commons

Halifax Christmas tree on Boston Common, 2010, by Louis Oliveira from Warwick, RI.
Wikimedia Commons.

In December 1918 Halifax sent a large Christmas tree to Boston as a token of thanks to the citizens of Boston for their help in recovery from the 1917 Halifax Explosion.

The Christmas tree tradition began again in 1971, and every year since then the people of Nova Scotia have sent a large evergreen tree to Boston. The tree is erected on Boston Common and lighted in a ceremony that introduces the beginning of the holiday season for the city. Often the tree is donated by a family in memory of a relative who died in the 1917 explosion.

The tree usually comes from a private landowner but it is selected by the Nova Scotia Department of National Resources. Throughout the year, Nova Scotians notify the department if they have a tree that meets the specifications and would like to donate it. A forester visits the sites and makes a final selection. The specifications are:


Further Information:

Books from Historical Collections. Related books from Historical Collections include Notes for Army Medical Officers by Thomas Herbert John Chapman Goodwin, 1917; Surgery in War by Alfred J. Hull, 1916; The Treatment of Infected Wounds by Alexis Carrel, 1917; The Roller Bandage by William Barton Hopkins, 1902; Emergency Surgery for the General Practitioner by John William Sluss, 1908; and The Red Cross in Peace and War by Clara Barton, 1899.

Notice: This exhibit was created by Normajean N. Hultman, Historical Collections Assistant. For permission to reproduce any of the text or to make comments or suggestions, please contact a member of Historical Collections.