Nova Scotia residents prepare to send Boston’s Christmas tree

Bill MacEachern held his medal from the 100th Boston Marathon while standing near the tree selected for Boston.
Bill MacEachern held his medal from the 100th Boston Marathon while standing near the tree selected for Boston.Government of Nova Scotia

Boston residents may still be finishing their Halloween candy, but the city already has a Christmas tree. It just won't be here until December.

The 49-foot white spruce hails from Pictou County in Nova Scotia, which donates a Christmas tree to Boston each year as a gesture of gratitude for the city's aid during the 1917 Halifax explosion that killed about 2,000 people.

This year's tree is 72 years old. Bill MacEachern, who ran the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996 and placed in the top 5 percent, is donating the spruce with his wife, Andrea, according to a statement from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.


"I remember how great the people of Boston were when I ran that race, so Andrea and I are thrilled this year's tree for Boston is coming from our property in Pictou County," Bill MacEachern said in the statement.

A tree-cutting ceremony will be held at the MacEacherns' property on Nov. 17. More than 100 children are expected to attend with local officials and Santa Claus himself.

The next day, Nova Scotians will send the tree off with a farewell ceremony at Halifax City Hall.

At both ceremonies, attendees will have the opportunity to sign a thank-you book for Boston, where residents in 1917 provided medical personnel and supplies after the explosion left hundreds injured and homeless. The disaster took place when a French cargo ship with explosives on board hit a Norwegian vessel in the Halifax harbor

The annual tree lighting will be at Boston Common on Dec. 3.

"On behalf of the province, I want to thank the MacEacherns for providing this special gift from Nova Scotia," said Zach Churchill, Nova Scotia's acting minister of Natural Resources. "Mr. MacEachern came to know the spirit of Boston when he ran in its famous marathon and, today, he and Andrea are helping us to honor that spirit with this gift."


The tree's journey can be tracked on Twitter at @TreeforBoston or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/treeforboston.

Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans. Sarah Roberts can be reached at sarah.roberts@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @heysarahroberts.