TRURO – For a couple of weeks, Dave MacFarlane gets a lot of wanted attention.
The Parrsboro native has been driving to Boston every year for the past six years, delivering the gifted tree from Nova Scotia.
“When transporting the tree, it’s the crowd. People love to see the tree,” said MacFarlane, while stopping at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre for the public to see the tree before it visited a couple spots in the province ahead of its 1,100-kilometre journey. “I get enjoyment out of that, and when we do the visits with the tree to different communities. It’s a friendly gathering, and I enjoy that. Especially when we get down to Boston and everybody’s excited to see their tree.”
Each year, the province selects a tree to gift to Boston as a thank you for that city’s contribution following the Halifax Explosion 101 years ago. Nova Scotia has been sending a tree to Boston for decades for its annual tree lighting, marking the holiday season. This year’s tree – a 14-metre (46-foot) white spruce – came from Oxford, donated by Ross McKellar and Teresa Simpson.
“We are very proud and excited that our tree will represent Nova Scotia’s gratitude toward the people of Boston,” said McKellar, in a press release issued by the province. “It is an honour for us to be part of this tradition of remembering our past and thanking Boston for their kindness, friendship and help during one of our province’s darkest moments.”
MacFarlane said there were no issues loading the white spruce onto the flatbed this year.
“It’s a little tight because a lot of times the trees are in people’s backyards that they’ve nurtured and taken care of over the years. That’s usually the biggest issue, but it’s never anything we can’t handle,” he said.
Once arriving in Boston, MacFarlane and the others that travel down with the tree will stick around until the tree is set up. He said it then takes a week to two weeks for the limbs to settle down to where they were before the tree was harvested.
Having been the driver for the past number of years, MacFarlane said this one is a couple feet smaller than last year’s contribution, but it was still a nice looking tree.
As members of the public gathered outside, with many taking pictures, students from Cobequid Consolidated Elementary in Old Barns were inside the centre where they learned from Janet Maybee about Truro’s role following the Halifax Explosion. They also played a game with representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, had a hot drink, and made decorations to send along with the tree. Teachers also handed over Christmas cards the children made prior to visiting the tree.
The tree lighting ceremony on Boston Common will take place Nov. 29. Deputy Premier Karen Casey, who is also the MLA for Colchester North, will attend and be joined by Nova Scotia musicians Hillsburn, Makayla Lynn, and Margie and Dawn Beaton.
For more information and key dates, visit www.novascotia.ca/treeforboston and follow Tree for Boston on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.