BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston's official Christmas tree arrived Friday on the Boston Common, ahead of the 79th annual tree lighting ceremony, which will be held virtually this year due to COVID-19.
This year's tree is a 45-foot white spruce donated by Heather and Tony Sampson of West Bay, Richmond County, Nova Scotia. Due to current public health guidelines, there will be no live event on the Boston Common. Instead, the annual tree lighting will be broadcast live on WCVB Channel 5 on December 3rd starting at 7 p.m.
Entertainment during the program will include the Boston Gay Men's Chorus, Nicholas Christopher from the musical "Hamilton", Nova Scotia's Barra MacNeils as well as Sarah and Elizabeth MacInnis with Jenny Mackenzie, Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, and Grammy Award-winning artist Shaggy.
Santa Claus will also be joining join Mayor Marty Walsh virtually for a special countdown during the broadcast. With the flip of the switch, Walsh said the trees will light up along the Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
"This year's celebration reminds us of the importance of working together when we face difficult challenges," Walsh said. "As Boston helped Nova Scotia in 1917, the City and our residents must partner to keep each other safe and healthy from the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank our friends in Nova Scotia for the Boston Common tree, and I'm grateful we are still able to celebrate the holiday season virtually."
Nova Scotia is dedicating its 2020 Tree for Boston to healthcare workers to honor both Boston's response after the Halifax Explosion and those who are working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nova Scotia is also sending an additional four smaller trees for donation to local charities.
Mayor Walsh said in addition to Boston's official tree in the Boston Common, 41 trees were delivered from Nova Scotia and installed in neighborhoods across the City of Boston.
Due to the pandemic, instead of sending the tree by truck, the province partnered with Port of Halifax, PSA Halifax and Eimskip Canada to transport the tree on a container ship to Boston. The tree was cut during a ceremony in Cape Breton on November 12, stopped at schools along the way to be seen by local students, and left by boat from Halifax on November 18 after a send-off at the Cunard Centre.
"We thank Boston for their kindness during our time of need by sending a big, beautiful Nova Scotia Christmas tree. This important tradition symbolizes gratitude, friendship and remembrance," said Nova Scotia Lands and Forestry Minister Derek Mombourquette. "It's also our way of honoring those who have worked so hard to keep us healthy and safe during the pandemic."
(Photo: Mayor Walsh/Twitter)