Quick, what are your favourite summer smells? Probably something tasty being grilled, or maybe saltwater and sand dried from an afternoon at the beach. But one unmistakably-summer aroma is the smell of freshly-cut grass.
Halifax might be a bubbling urban metropolis, but we have the distinct benefit of sharing one giant front yard. Citadel Hill is the book-reading, picnic-having, dog-walking epicenter of summer in this city. The smell of newly-clipped grass along its slopes is easily one of Halifax’s favourite scents.
The people responsible for this gargantuan bit of urban landscaping are Parks Canada, who contracts maintenance out. It takes a crew of 12 to 15 people a full eight-hour day to properly trim Citadel Hill’s 1.5 acres of grass.
Suddenly that half hour spent mowing the front yard as a teenager doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Not all of those workers use lawnmowers, though. Those sloping sides mean weed whackers are more efficient to cut back certain sections. Depending on the weather, crews are out bi-weekly to keep up with growth. According to Parks Canada, grass clippings are left on the hill after being cut, which allows the dead plant matter to break down and provide more nutrients to the soil.
The “maintenance and beauty” of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is a priority to Parks Canada, according to spokesperson Lyndin Kane.
“Each national historic site tells its own unique story, part of the greater story of Canada, contributing a sense of time, identity and a place to our understanding of Canada as a whole,” Kane casually writes over email.
Citadel Hill, for the record, isn’t festooned with any kind of fancy, un-Canadian grass. Our iconic hill doesn’t need any ornamental varieties like Mexican Feather or Chinese Fountain, thank you very much.
“The grass is the same grass that has been there historically,” writes Kane. “We do not use any special variety of grass and nothing is added to enhance it.”
No artificial enhancements on this hill. Just the real beauty of real grass. Make sure to get out and enjoy Citadel Hill today, since tomorrow’s weather isn’t looking great.
Summer in Halifax—that magical waltz of gorgeous sunshine bookended by oppressive rainstorms. Try to appreciate the sunny days while they’re around.