Shady Trees

Like so many cities and towns around the world, every year Halifax celebrates the Christmas season with a giant tree – in this case placed in the Grand Parade in front of City Hall. Passersby enjoying the smells and lights, however, may not realize the substantial costs involved with this annual display, and almost certainly have no idea how the Halifax City Fathers (and Mothers) have been dealing with never-ending increases in expenditures.

There’s no proof of course, but it seems that starting about 20 years ago, the Halifax city tree would appear overnight, shortly after another regional government or commercial operation had discovered the disappearance of its own arboreal display. For years, no one made the connection, and to this day there has never been an outright accusation over any purloined pines, but rumors abound, and the occasional city worker -after a few too many in the local bars- has been heard muttering about past seasonal skullduggeries.

‘Stories’ are told of midnight raids on city squares, attempts to jam trees into trucks much too small for the task, ornaments used to leave false trails for pursuers, and even one tree pulled off the truck as it sped away (along with three conspirators) because an operative had neglected to unplug the extension cord.

Most famous, though, is the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Woody The Talking Christmas Tree. A seasonal fixture in the local Mic Mac Mall for decades, it was ‘announced’ that he was being retired one year in the late 2000s. That same Christmas, the new tree in the Grand Parade was noted for the especially heavy deployment of ornaments and tinsel at the center-front of the evergreen, and the muffled sounds coming from within – which city officials put down to a lost and impressively cold-resistant parrot.

The Mall never pointed the finger at the government that, after all, was responsible for all the local bylaws, though Woody himself would have been able to answer any questions about his sudden ‘retirement’…

…if he had ever been seen again.

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