BOSTON (CBS) — A sure sign of the holiday season arrived on Boston Common Friday. For the 49th time, Nova Scotia gifted the city a Christmas tree for its relief efforts following the 1917 Halifax explosion.

This year’s tree is a white spruce that’s 45 feet tall.

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“We thank Boston for their kindness during our time of need by sending a big, beautiful Nova Scotia Christmas tree. This important tradition symbolizes gratitude, friendship and remembrance,” said Nova Scotia Lands and Forestry Minister Derek Mombourquette in a statement. “It’s also our way of honoring those who have worked so hard to keep us healthy and safe during the pandemic.”

The lighting of the tree always draws large crowds to the Common, but this year’s Dec. 3 ceremony will be virtual only due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year’s celebration reminds us of the importance of working together when we face difficult challenges,” Boston Mayor Walsh said in a statement. “As Boston helped Nova Scotia in 1917, the City and our residents must partner to keep each other safe and healthy from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It was announced this week that Faneuil Hall will not host a Christmas tree or light show at the marketplace this holiday season because of the pandemic.

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