The Boston Christmas Tree

This is one of the many stories you will experience on “The Boston Christmas Tour. The tour starts at 60 School Street, Boston, and is exclusively available on the WalknTours app.” Learn more about the tour clicking here.


War tends to unite allies. World War 1 brought together Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Boston creating a Christmas tradition that has endured throughout the century and prevails until today.

The story of the Boston Common Christmas Tree, or as its officially known as the Nova Scotia Tree, originates on a cold morning of December 6th, 1917. Halifax was a major shipping port during the Great War sending supplies to the boys on the front in Europe. On that fridge cold morning the Norwegian Ship the SS Imo was fully stocked with Coal supplies and running a day late. Delays in war meant death, so its captain put the ship full steam ahead. That same morning the French ship the SS Mont-Blanc entered the Halifax harbor carrying TNT and explosives.





In the early morning hours, the two ships collided causing an explosion larger than any ever seen before it’s time. The blast was the largest man-made explosion in history and nothing of that magnitude was seen until the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima.


2000 were killed, 9000 injured and over 1 and a half miles were flattened.


Bostonians quickly reacted in an effort to help Halifax sending trains full of supplies, doctors, nurses and aid to help rebuild Halifax.


To thank Boston for its help, every December the good people of Halifax send an enormous Christmas Tree. Before leaving Halifax, the tree is sent off with a celebration and police escort. It’s quite a show. And when it arrives the tree is met by 20,000 Bostonian’s for the tree lighting ceremony, but in 2020 this was canceled for COVID.






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