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    ‘Tree for Boston’ cut on Christmas Island | CTV News

    Nova Scotia’s 51st “Tree for Boston” is on its way to Halifax for a special sendoff following a cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.

    A few hundred people gathered on Christmas Island, N.S., to watch the 45-foot white spruce fall.

    “It’s a beautiful day, and it’s very exciting,” said nearby resident Marie Higgins.

    A local Mi’kmaw elder held a smudging ceremony beforehand, and Carmen Townsend – an award-winning musician and a daughter of the family donating the tree – performed a song she wrote about the tradition.

    Townsend says much of her childhood on the family property was spent in the tree’s shadow.

    “We grew up as feral children on Christmas Island,” Townsend told CTV Atlantic in an interview earlier this month. “Running through the woods and hanging out on the shore.”

    Her mother, Blanche, who passed away several years ago, would point to the tree and say how it would be “the best Christmas tree,” said Townsend.

    “She would be so happy and she would have loved to have heard the kids singing along to the song,” said Townsend. “She would have just loved every second of this.”

    The Christmas tree is the latest iteration of a long-standing “thank you” to Boston for its help following the Halifax Explosion in 1917.

    Carmen Townsend, an award-winning musician, will perform a song she wrote all about ME! A local Mi’kmaq elder will conduct a smudging ceremony before the tree is cut. pic.twitter.com/MHT0y4JrIp

    — Tree for Boston (@TreeforBoston)

    Soon after the blast, which killed nearly 2,000 people and left thousands more injured and homeless, officials in Boston sent medical aid, relief supplies, and personnel to Halifax.

    “Mom had a special place in her heart for Christmas Island,” Angela MacNeil, another daughter of Blanche’s, said to the crowd of hundreds. “She would be over the moon, we believe, to see her dream of this beautiful, very special white spruce being chosen to grace Boston as its Christmas tree.”

    The man tasked with cutting the tree says when it’s lit up in Boston, he knows it will represent the people back home.

    “I’ve done it five or six times probably, and every time it’s an honour,” said Waddie Long. “Every Nova Scotian is behind the Boston tree, and we thank the people of Boston for what they did for us. We just spread our hospitality — it’s what we do as Nova Scotians. So thank you, Boston.”

    In 1971, the first “Tree for Boston” was cut in Lunenburg County.

    This is the second year in a row that the tree is coming from Cape Breton.

    The tree is set to leave Halifax on Nov. 21 and is expected to reach its final destination for a tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Boston Common.

    “Happy holidays to you and yours, from Christmas Island, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia,” said MacNeil. “We’ll be seeing you soon, Boston.”

    This content was originally published here.

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