Note: This Post was first published in November 2015. Click here for details about the 2017 Event!
The Nova Scotia Tree for Boston is on the move from Pictou, Nova Scotia, to our friends in Boston, Massachusetts. Today I was lucky enough to meet some of the hard-working Nova Scotians who are making it happen! Would you like to meet them too? Read on!
This morning, the Nova Scotia Tree for Boston stopped at St. Stephen’s Elementary School in the North End of Halifax, on the way to Grand Parade, downtown Halifax, for the official sendoff. The atmosphere was exciting and a little bit emotional. Every single student, teacher, and many parents from St. Stephen’s Elementary School were gathered outside the front of the building, wearing warm Nova Scotia winter hats, cheering loudly as the huge truck, led by police and tailed by a fire engine, made its stop in front of the school.
Then, out of the truck jumped the man himself. No, not Santa! It was our smiling Premier Stephen McNeil, who greeted the crowd and then shook hands and/or high-fived nearly every kid in the school.
While everyone else was busy taking photos of Premier McNeil and the kids, I took the opportunity to chat with two of the most important members of the Nova Scotia Tree for Boston operation: drivers David McFarland and Sheldon Garland. McFarland is from Parrsboro, and this is his fourth year driving the tree to Boston. Garland is from Baddeck and this is his second year. Both men are proud to be taking Nova’s Christmas gift down to the people of Boston, and looking forward to making a couple of more stops along the way, at two more schools in Truro and Amherst. The trip will take 2 days in total, but McFarland and Garland aren’t sticking around for the ceremony in Boston. They’ll be coming home – back to work!
I also spoke to a few members of the Halifax Regional Police, who were proudly escorting the cavalcade through Halifax today. “Are you going all the way to Boston”, I asked? The resounding answer, in chorus: “We wish!”.
My next stop was the fire engine, which for once, was relegated to the sidelines, sitting behind the tree-truck. Even though its lights were flashing, no one seemed to notice! Firefighter Michael Crookes, pictured below, said he’s not going all the way to Boston either, but he’s delighted to spend the morning escorting the tree through Halifax. He said, ” I turned up for my shift today, and they told me I’d be doing this!”
In a sobering speech of gratitude to Boston by our town crier, we remembered the pain and suffering of The 1917 Halifax Explosion, and how truly grateful we are for Boston’s help.
And then, as if by magic, the crowd broke into a rousing chorus of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Finally, a group of students gathered in front of CTV cameras to send a greeting to our American friends. The simple message: “Merry Christmas Boston!”
Along with the rest of Nova Scotians, I wish the tree and its drivers, a very safe journey down to Massachusetts, and my very best wishes to Boston. Merry Christmas!
Goodbye tree, and thanks for visiting us in the North End of Halifax!
Don’t forget to click here for details about the 2018 Event!