Boston’s Christmas tree comes with a hefty price tag — for Nova Scotia

Mayor Martin J. Walsh presided over the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Boston Common in 2014.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh presided over the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Boston Common in 2014.(Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)

The beloved Boston Common Christmas tree cost the Canadian province of Nova Scotia $242,000 (Canadian) last year, with the biggest chunk of change going to WCVB-TV for the station’s tree-lighting broadcast, the CBC reported Wednesday.

Nova Scotia gives the City of Boston $30,000 US to sponsor the annual lighting ceremony and pays WCVB $55,000 US to air the special, which attracts about 200,000 viewers, according to a breakdown of expenses published by the Canadian news service.

Other expenses include transportation, events marking the tree’s arrival and departure, and a partnership with a Nova Scotia broadcaster. See the full list here.


Spokespeople for WCVB and the officer of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The CBC reported that the province’s minister for communications, Zach Churchill, said the tree is a gift first and foremost, but also a chance to attract New Englanders to visit Nova Scotia, buy its seafood and other edibles, and potentially partner with the province in developing an East Coast energy corridor.

Ed McHugh, who teaches business and marketing at Nova Scotia Community College, told the CBC that a television commercial can cost about four times as much as the amount the province gives WCVB for its hour-long broadcast, so the expense seems reasonable.

But, he said, he thinks Nova Scotia could negotiate a lower rate.

Nova Scotia has provided a tree for Boston since 1971, as a gesture of appreciation for assistance Bostonians gave to the province after the 1917 Halifax Explosion, which killed about 2,000 people in the Canadian city’s Richmond District.

Members of the Massachusetts Public Safety Committee and the Boston chapter of the American Red Cross assisted in recovery efforts following the disaster.

This year, Nova Scotia plans to send a 47-foot white spruce from Ainslie Glen, a small town on Cape Breton Island, according to the province’s official website. It is scheduled to arrive in Boston on Friday and be lit Dec. 1.


The tree has its own Twitter account here.