11/08/2014 01:25 EST | Updated 01/08/2015 05:59 EST

Nathan Phillips Square raises 18-metre Christmas tree

An 18-metre Christmas tree erected in Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday kicks off the city's Cavalcade of Lights.

The festival takes place on Nov. 29 with the lighting of the tree, marking the start of Toronto's holiday season.

The city's tree, typically a white spruce, is selected a year ahead of time from the Brancroft, Ont., area, said Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly on Twitter.

An eight-person crew takes up to four hours to put the tree in place with the help of cranes.

Three days after it's placed, the Christmas tree can be decorated — a two week process, which includes large machinery, like a cherry picker, to help the crew place ornaments and string lights around the massive tree.

The Nov. 29 celebration will see the tree's lights shine for the first time. Revellers will be treated to musical performances by Kallylee Evans, Maestro Fresh Wes, Kardinal Offishall and Shad.

Fireworks and a skating party will also be on the evening's agenda.

After the holiday season, the city recycles the tree.