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Nova Scotia’s 2020 tree for Boston is dedicated to frontline health-care workers

A 45-foot white spruce will be on its way from Cape Breton to Boston Common, where it will be lit in December. Province of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is dedicating this year’s Tree for Boston to those who are working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tree for Boston is the province’s annual thank you to Boston for sending medical personnel and supplies to Nova Scotia within hours of the Halifax Explosion in 1917.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia’s annual tree for Boston bundled up and on the road to Halifax

The explosion devastated north-end Halifax, killed nearly 2,000 people, and left thousands more injured and homeless.

The province said Heather and Tony Sampson from West Bay, Richmond County, are this year’s tree donors.

Heather and Tony Sampson from West Bay.

“I work in the nursing home in St. Peter’s. Everybody there has worked so hard this year. We want everyone to enjoy the tree and have a nice Christmas,” Heather Sampson said.

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“It’s been a tough year for everybody and hopefully the tree will put some smiles on everyone’s faces. That’s what the Tree for Boston is about — wishing everybody well and staying safe,” she added.

Tony Sampson also has a personal connection with the Tree for Boston, as his stepfather’s mother was adopted from Boston when she was two.

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia tree begins traditional journey to Boston' Nova Scotia tree begins traditional journey to Boston
Nova Scotia tree begins traditional journey to Boston – Nov 13, 2019

“The tree comes from our property, which was passed down through the family. We’ve watched it grow for many years. It has quite a bit of meaning to me and my family to send Nova Scotia’s gift to the people of Boston,” he said.

Sampson said that he also worked in the machine shop at Halifax Shipyards in the 1980s, in one of the buildings re-built after the Halifax Explosion.

“Only two columns of the original building were left standing after the explosion. When I lived near Fort Needham, I could look down towards the water and imagine the destruction.”

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Soon, the 45-foot white spruce will be on its way from Cape Breton to Boston Common, where it will be lit in December.

According to the province, there will be no public events for Tree for Boston this year, but Nova Scotians can learn about the Halifax Explosion and join online Tree for Boston celebrations by following @TreeforBoston on social media.

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