Andrew Younger, a minister for the Nova Scotia government, will be reunited with the 47-foot-tall white spruce the province donated to Boston when the city’s official Christmas tree is lit Thursday on Boston Common.
The tree is an annual gift recognizing the help Boston provided after the great Halifax explosion of 1917. The blast wiped out half of the city, and Boston responders were among the first on scene to assist in the aftermath, officials said.
“I can’t wait to see the tree all decorated,” Younger said during a telephone interview Wednesday on his way to catch his flight to Boston. “The last time I saw it, it was all bundled up on a flatbed.”
Younger will join Mayor Thomas M. Menino from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the tree lighting ceremony.
“We want to show how much we appreciate Boston,” Younger said.
He has a full day scheduled Thursday. In the morning, he is speaking to students at the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester, who have been learning about the Halifax explosion.
The Dorchester students will Skype with students in Nova Scotia, Younger said.
From noon to 1 p.m., Younger will be at Faneuil Hall passing out free winter hats. There will also be a musical performance, he said.
“It’s going to be a real Nova Scotia celebration,” Younger said.
He will make an effort to mingle and talk with as many Bostonians as he can, he said.
“Boston is one of the world’s great cities,” Younger said. “Some of my favorite memories are from visiting Boston.”
This year, the April Boston Marathon bombings will be remembered at the ceremony, he said.
“That’s particularly moving for me,” said Younger, who had friends running in the Marathon.Melissa Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.