Symbolizing more than a holiday: The story behind why Nova Scotia gives Boston its city tree every year

General atmosphere at the Annual Boston Christmas Tree Lighting at Boston Common Park on December 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Christmas tree is donated by Nova Scotia each year after Boston was the first to send aid following the 1917 explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax Harbor which killed more than 2,000 and injured more than 9,000. Photo by Paul Marotta
General atmosphere at the Annual Boston Christmas Tree Lighting at Boston Common Park on December 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Christmas tree is donated by Nova Scotia each year after Boston was the first to send aid following the 1917 explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax Harbor which killed more than 2,000 and injured more than 9,000. Photo by Paul Marotta (Getty Images)

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Back in November, the province of Nova Scotia kept up a yearly tradition by sending the city of Boston its official Christmas tree.

Nova Scotia has done this every year since 1971 -- but why?

It all has to do with appreciation, for what people in Boston did for Nova Scotia 103 years ago. Here’s that story.

An explosion rocks a community

On the morning of Dec. 6, 1917, a French cargo ship filled with high explosives and acid collided with a Norwegian ship in Halifax Harbour, located near Nova Scotia’s capital city of Halifax.

The explosives on the French ship detonated, causing a blast that destroyed property within a radius of 1 1/2 miles. Homes, stores and a sugar refinery were all annihilated in the explosion, killing about 2,000 and injuring 9,000 others.


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