Long Term Reciprocity: the Halifax Christmas Gift to Boston

Here’s a post in honor of my fellow blogger Tricia’s blog ‘Creating Reciprocity’ at: http://creatingreciprocity.wordpress.com/ 

I think this story captures part of the essence of reciprocity and in this case one remote from the original good act, but sustained over 40 years. The Halifax explosion was the result of ammunition ship for the First World War in Europe blowing up with devastating effects and killing over 2000 people and Boston came to the rescue. I love Boston and I love Canada, so it works for me especially.

This year Nova Scotia is celebrating the 40th year of an annual tradition — sending an evergreen gift to say ‘thank you’ to the people of Boston. Ken and Donna Spinney of Central Argyle, Yarmouth County, are providing Nova Scotia’s big Christmas tree http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/christmastrees/bostontree.asp for Boston this year.

Every Christmas, since 1971, Nova Scotia has sent the city of Boston a large evergreen tree to thank the people of that city for their help after the devastating Halifax Explosion of December 6, 1917.http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/explosion/default.asp

Boston provided medical personnel and supplies to help treat explosion victims. This year’s tree is a 45 foot white spruce. The tree will be cut down during a public ceremony on November 15th at 11am.

The tree cutting ceremony will include the participation of students from three Yarmouth County elementary schools, a town crier declaration, and a storytelling and poetry presentation about the Boston tree. The tree will be cut and lowered onto a flatbed truck bearing a large, blue sign that reads “The Nova Scotia Tree for Boston”. The truck will depart that day to board the ferry at Digby and cross the Bay of Fundy, continue through New Brunswick, Maine, and down into Massachusetts.

Elementary students and all Nova Scotians will be encouraged to track the truck’s progress online via updates posted on this page. The Nova Scotia tree is erected and decorated on the Boston Common and lighted at a ceremony attracting about 30 thousand people and broadcast live on television.

Thanks to Canadian Steven Pinker who now lives in Boston for the story

Footnote: The City of Oslo in Norway also gives a Christmas Tree  to London, England, and has done every year since 1947 in thanks for the support the British gave to Norway during the Second World War.

And here’s the Boston tree:


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Processes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Long Term Reciprocity: the Halifax Christmas Gift to Boston

  1. Such great examples, Ed – thanks!

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