The Thing: retro reel lawn mowers take Toronto

The Thing: retro reel lawn mowers take Toronto

(Photo: Natasha V.; Illustrations: Peter Arkle) 

What is it about old-man accoutrements that hipsters can’t get enough of? After co-opting just about everything vintage (handlebar moustaches, white undershirts, Polaroid cameras, fanny packs), grass-loving homeowners from Leslie­ville to Parkdale are grooming their green space with no-gas, non-electric push mowers—the lawn care equivalent of a straight-razor shave. Eco-warriors use them to reduce their carbon footprint, and row house dwellers—still perplexed over where to stash their XXL blue bins—love the space economy of a lawn mower only slightly larger than a pogo stick. The city kick-started the comeback in 2009, when it began issuing $10 hardware store coupons to anyone willing to retire a pollution-spewing double-motor gas model. The trend is also good news for Sunday morning sleeper-inners: no motor means the only thing waking you up will be the smell of fresh-cut grass. $109. Lee Valley Tools, 590 King St. W., 416-366-5959

1. Don’t procrastinate: these blades won’t work well on thigh-high grass.
2. Wear closed-toe footwear: old-man shoes to match your old-man mower.
3. Prep by clearing twigs, rocks, croquet wickets and deposits from the neighbour’s dog.
4. Assuming your lawn is bigger than a postage stamp, this will be a workout. Break for refreshments frequently.
5. Leave the soil-enriching grass clippings behind as evidence of your highly developed eco-conscience.